Heinz has put forward a revised offer to its workers in an attempt to settle the ongoing dispute over pay that has resulted in five 24-hour strikes to date.

In a meeting with Unite union yesterday (12 January) and chaired by advisory body ACAS, Heinz tabled an improved offer of 3.9% for 2010 and 3.9% for 2011 together with consolidation of a pay supplement also into the basic pay from 28 October 2011.

Heinz said that the talks were “positive and constructive” and it is “hopeful” the offer will be accepted.

“The aim of the meeting was to reach an agreement and avoid further strike action so we wanted to move that forward and we think that was the right way to do it,” Nigel Dickie, director of corporate and government affairs for Heinz told just-food. “

It was a positive meeting, it has been viewed positively by the committee, so we believe it will be viewed positively by the work force. We hope the offer is going to be accepted.”

Dickie said that despite the five strikes, the company has not faced any production issues.

“As we’ve said throughout, we took action anyway to manage our stocks, we have a large manufacturing network throughout Europe to manufacture top-up supplies and supplies of our famous varieties were continuing to be available even despite the huge demand as a result of the extremely cold weather over Christmas,” Dickie told just-food.

A secret ballot will now take place at Kitt Green from 10.30am BST today through to 12 noon on 18 January, allowing union members to decide on the deal tabled by Heinz.

In a statement this morning, Unite said it will “view the revised offer positively”.

“We are pleased that Heinz have been prepared to move significantly towards fulfilling our members’ aspirations. We will now be putting the offer to a secret ballot of the workforce. If the offer is accepted, as we believe it will be, we will then be able to move forward positively at Kitt Green.”