GMB Experts in the World of Work
Join GMB today
 Follow @GMB_union

Christmas Humbug Shortage Looms

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Workers at Tangerine, who manufacture Barratt Sherbert Fountains, Butterkist Popcorn and Princess Marshmallows set to walk out over ‘derisory’ pay.

Some of the UK’s best loved sweets could be in short supply this Christmas as Tangerine face fresh industrial action.

Workers at the confectionary giant, who make Mint Humbugs, Barratt Sherbert Fountains, Butterkist Popcorn and Princess Marshmallows, will down tools over a ‘derisory’ pay offer and allegations of bullying tactics.

GMB members at the York factory took part in 24 hour strikes on November 23 and 30, December 1 and December 30.

Picketers say they were victims of provocation, threatening behaviour and were even told they would face action for unauthorised absence.

They have been told unless the accept Tangerine’s grudging offer (1.25% back dated to April with 15 minute break) by Friday, the deal will be taken off the table altogether.

Now, further strike action is inevitable.

Ben Kirkham, GMB Organiser, said:

"I am disappointed with the absence of any proper dialogue from Tangerine, and management's actions towards our members.

“These threats are unacceptable and the pay offer is derisory, but GMB members have maintained their dignity whilst facing continued provocation to their job security.

“This clearly undermines the relationship Tangerine has with its workers and shows the dispute is justified - we have to face up to bullying employers.

“The cost of living in York is at its highest in the region, however workers at Tangerine are paid on average £4,000 less a year now than 10 years ago.

“Private renting costs, increase in fuel rates, increase in the weekly shop, the workers just cannot afford to keep taking the hits anymore and this is shown in the strength of picket in week 6 of industrial action. [1]

“Now Tangerine will have to deal with further strikes in the run up to Christmas – their busiest time of the year.”


Notes to Editors:

Contact: Ben Kirkham GMB Organiser 07958156841or GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at


Background information on Tangerine:

Website for Tangerine York -

Background Information

Tangerine headquartered are based in Blackpool, Tangerine is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of sugar confectionery and popcorn. It owns brands such as Butterkist popcorn, the iconic Barratt Sherbet Fountain and Dip Dabs, Henry Goode’s soft eating liquorice and Princess Marshmallows.

In the period from January 2006 to July 2011, Tangerine quadrupled in size, increasing its turnover from £40m to £160m and its base of employees by 300% to 1,350. In February 2011, Tangerine gained a top 20 place in the Sunday Times DeloitteBuyout Track 100, which ranks Britain's 100 private equity backed companies with the fasted growing profits (EBITDA) over the last two years of available accounts.

* 2011- US private equity firm Blackstone Group buys majority stake UK based confectionary company Tangerine -

* A sweet return for Growth Capital Partners -

Previous press releases:





Share this page