A strike by workers at the world’s biggest Nutella production plant ended earlier today, according to Italian confectionery giant Ferrero.
Industrial action at the plant in France began on 28 May in protest at a pay offer and working conditions. Unions claimed only one of the plant’s four production lines dedicated to Nutella was in operation – at a capacity of 20% – and that production of Kinder Bueno chocolate bars had stopped altogether.
In a statement sent to just-food, Ferrero said: “Management at the Ferrero Villers-Ecalles plant [in Normandy] announced this morning the end of the strike by the Force Ouvrière union, the picket having been lifted during the night. The plant is once again accessible to trucks and cars and was able resume its normal activity at 5am.
“The firm and staff representatives welcome this positive outcome, which allowed all staff at the plant to return to work in a serene manner this morning.”
The statement concluded: “On this occasion, Ferrero reaffirms its commitment to peaceful and constructive social dialogue in the interests of all workers, partners and consumers.”
Asked by just-food why the strike had ended and whether a compromise agreement had been reached relating to pay increases – the unions having reportedly demanded a 4.5% wage rise and a EUR900 bonus and Ferrero having offered a 0.4% increase – a company spokesperson declined to comment.
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“All we can say beyond the statement is that there will not be a shortage of Nutella and that all supplies have been maintained [during the strike].”
Earlier this week, Ferrero, backed by a judicial ruling, notified strikers they would be fined if they continued their “illegal” blockade of access to the plant.
The Force Ouvrière union’s branch secretary at the plant, Fabrice Canchel, who had described the fines as a violation of workers’ right to strike, was not immediately available to comment on the end of the industrial action when contacted by just-food.