Union hits out at "fat cat" Dairy Crest boss as pay dispute looms

Union hits out at "fat cat" Dairy Crest boss as pay dispute looms

Unite, the union representing workers at UK cheese-to-spreads group Dairy Crest, has criticised the bonus the group's chief executive is reportedly due on completion of the sale of Dairy Crest's dairies division to Muller. The union's stinging attack comes ahead of pay talks scheduled for the end of the month.

According to reports, CEO Mark Allen will pocket a bonus of GBP1.2m (US$1.9m) on completion of the deal, on top of his annual salary which, when last disclosed, totaled GBP1.28m.

"Dairy Crest boss Mark Allen is the fat cat that got the cream – this is rank hypocrisy given that the management has offered its 3,000-strong workforce a miserly pay deal for this year," Unite national officer Matt Draper said. "Unite is calling for Mark Allen, who has been chief executive since 2007, to give up his bonus, so it can go towards giving all Dairy Crest workers a well-deserved pay increase."

Unite said that further wage negotiations with the management are due to be held on 30 July. The union insisted that it "expects a better offer to be put on the table than the current one".

Dairy Crest is in the process of selling its loss-making milk business to Muller in order to focus on its cheese and spreads business. The deal is now being considered by the UK's competition regulators as it would reduce the number of operators in the liquid milk sector to just two main players – Muller and Arla Foods. The Competition and Markets Authority has accepted "in principle" proposals to remedy the competition concerns it had and Muller said it hopes to complete the deal by the end of the year.

Dairy Crest was not immediately available for comment at time of press.