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Ballot called over Gaymer Cider pay dispute

Workers at Gaymer Cider's Somerset facility are to vote on possible strike action following a dispute with the company over pay.

Union Unite confirmed it will be balloting over 100 production workers at the Shepton Mallett plant during the next week, with workers unhappy regarding the offer of a three per cent payrise for 2012/13 being made conditional to future wage freezes.

Workers also claimed they had yet to receive a pay rise since the 2010 takeover of the company by the C&C Group for £45m. The same company also owns Magners Cider.

Unite regional officer Hugh Kirkbride said the initial three per cent pay rise was withdrawn following staff rejecting the terms of any rise being conditional to pay freezes.

“This is not acceptable as our members are struggling to make ends meet as they wrestle with soaring household bills. Their pay is falling behind in real terms,” he said.

“This about fairness, and our members don’t see why they should be in the fourth year of a pay freeze when their colleagues in the offices and the labs have already had a three per cent rise.

Mr Kirkbride added Gaymer’s actions were at odds with the new year message from Confederation of British Industry director general John Cridland, who called for businesses to share new found prosperity with workers.

But a spokesman for Gaymer, whose brands include Olde English and Blackthorn ciders, said the company hoped to avoid strike action.

“We are aware that Unite’s members are now being balloted on industrial action and we sincerely hope that common sense will prevail and such unnecessary and potentially damaging action will be rejected,” he said.

Source: www.themanufacturer.com - 10 January 2014