Peanut production machinery

Source: Getty Images

KP Snacks Rotherham workers have voted to down tools

KP Snacks salted and dry roasted nut production will be hampered by workers’ strike action for a week in September after pay rise talks broke down.

Last month, workers warned of their anger over “unfair pay” and threatened to down tools if an appropriate offer wasn’t made.

Union representatives and KP Snacks have since announced strike action at the company’s Rotherham factory – the only site producing KP Nuts – from 5 to 12 September.

Some 83% of workers voted to strike and halt production of the classic British snack after rejecting a below inflation pay offer of 8%.

KP strikers angered by low pay offer

Unite’s message to KP Snacks is if you pay your workers peanuts, expect strike action,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

“The company has increased profits by 275% since 2018, but the workers’ pay has fallen 14% in real terms over the same period. That’s why workers are refusing to accept anything less than a pay deal which keeps up with the cost of living.”

Union representatives’ grievances extended to workers on the hygiene team – some of the lowest-earning staff – who earned £10.66 an hour. 

However, KP Snacks manufacturing director Mark Duffy told The Grocer hygiene workers received a 9.7% pay rise on 1 April to ensure they remained ahead of the national minimum wage.

The business had offered KP Snacks factory workers a “competitive” 6% pay rise alongside a £1,000 inflation payment during discussions and prior to an 8% offer, he added.

“I can confirm that following further wage negotiations with colleagues and their representatives at our Hellaby [Rotherham] site, our latest pay offer has been rejected and we have been advised by Unite that they are taking strike action,” confirmed Duffy.

KP Snacks ‘extremely disappointed’ over action

“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.”

The decision by workers to strike left Duffy and senior management “extremely disappointed” as it was hoped the unprecedented situation for KP and its impact could have been avoided.

He continued: “In the meantime, the factory team continue to develop robust contingency plans to minimise the impact on customers and consumers.”

In July, the High Court overturned a government decision to allow companies to hire agency workers to cover striking staff as unlawful. Over a dozen unions had challenged the government’s decision, which “undermined strike action”. The ruling came into force this month.