Workers at a Barry Callebaut chocolate facility in the UK have warned of further strike action planned if the company does not enter into “meaningful” negotiations over pay.

Staff at the site in Banbury started a 48-hour stoppage on Saturday (22 September), with the strike action continuing into today.

Unite, the union representing the workers, said employees at the facility were “disillusioned” after they were offered a 1.5% pay increase in April, while other Barry Callebaut employees received a pay increase of 2%. 

“The pay deal that they have been offered is not acceptable and an overwhelming majority has thrown its weight behind strike action,” a spokesperson for the union told just-food.

Unite revealed staff voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of striking, with 91.6% backing a ‘yes’ vote. This, the spokesperson said, demonstrated the depth of feeling.

“Management have shown no interest in meaningful discussions,” the union said. “The fact that other employees have been given a 2% pay increase just adds fuel to the Banbury staff’s anger.”

Unless management agree to “meaningful discussions” strike action will resume with two further sets of 48 hour stoppages, the union warned. The strike action is planned for Friday 28 September and Monday 1 October, Unite said.

The company was not immediately available for comment and it is unclear what impact the strike has had on production. Management have been called in to cover for the 108 striking workers, the union suggested.

In a bid to increase prssure on workers to accept the current pay deal, Unite said the company has warned that unless the pay offer is accepted by the end of the year all back pay will be lost.