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Workers at a KP Snacks factory in the UK have voted to strike after the company offered a raise that union officials say amounts to a real-terms pay cut.

Production of salted and dry roasted peanuts will grind to a halt for a week in September because the workers rejected a “below inflation” 8% pay rise.

The factory in Hellaby in South Yorkshire is the sole producer of KP Nuts.

The strike at the plant will begin on 5 September. The union is warning industrial action will escalate unless the company ups its pay offer.

Unite, the union representing KP Snacks’ employees, said 83% of staff at the factory voted to strike.

“The company made £54m ($68.3m) in profit but is offering workers a real terms pay cut,” Unite said in a statement. “The company has increased its profits by 275% since 2018. In stark contrast, average pay at KP Snacks has fallen in real terms by 14% since 2018.”

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A spokesperson for KP Snacks, which is owned by Germany-based Intersnack, defended the pay proposal.

“We believe that the offer of 8% with no strings backdated to April 2023 is fair, equitable, and ahead of most pay deals this year within the industry,” a company spokesperson told Just Food. “We are extremely disappointed to have reached this situation, which is unprecedented for KP, and had hoped to avoid the announced strike and resultant impact on colleagues.”

“In the meantime, the factory team continue to develop robust contingency plans to minimise the impact on customers and consumers,” said the roasted peanut producer.

Unite claimed KP Snacks also refused to offer the lowest-paid workers a pay rise. Instead, management is offering them a one-off payment.

“Unite’s message to KP Snacks is if you pay your workers peanuts, expect strike action,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham added. “…Workers are refusing to accept anything less than a pay deal which keeps up with the cost of living.”

KP Snacks, which is headquartered in Slough in southern England, has seven manufacturing sites in the country. Its portfolio also includes Skips, Tyrrells and Butterkist.

Earlier this week, Tetley Tea manufacturer Tata Consumer Products reached a deal with employees after almost 200 voted to strike over pay in the UK.

Last month, strike dates were confirmed against UK soft drinks manufacturer AG Barr after drivers at an Irn-Bru production and distribution centre in Scotland rejected a 5% increase in wages offered by the owner.