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GMB Confirms York Humbug Sweet Makers Staff Strike To Begin Tomorro

Monday, November 7, 2016

Union members to strike from tomorrow at Tangerine’s York factory making Mint Humbugs, Sherbert Fountains, Butterkist Popcorn and Princess Marshmallows

GMB, Britain’s General Union, has confirmed workers at the Tangerine factory in York will down tools tomorrow (Tuesday 8 November) for the first of four days of strike action after members voted to reject their employers’ pay offer this morning.

A subsequently improved offer from the employer was not forthcoming by today’s 14:00 deadline, leading the union to confirm strike action would go ahead. Workers will go on strike for an initial 24 hours from 06:00 tomorrow.

The row centres around a 1% pay deal, begrudgingly offered by the employer, which had left factory workers frustrated and angry. The original offer was unanimously rejected in favour of a ballot for industrial action by 86% of members. An improved offer was rejected this morning by 92% of members.

As the UK’s largest sugar confectionery and branded popcorn manufacturer, Tangerine’s brands include Taveners Mint Humbugs, Barratt Sherbert Fountain, Butterkist Toffee Popcorn and Princess Marshmallows. Workers had been preparing to go cap in hand for another year of despondent pay talks which would leave families struggling before Christmas.

US private equity firm Blackstone Group bought a majority stake in 2011 Tangerine. GMB said the company had since returned this investment by eroding workers’ terms and conditions in favour of profit.

With a clear mandate from members, GMB said action would now start tomorrow (Tuesday 8 November) and warned that action short of strikes will continue if talks fail to materialise. The first 24 hour strike will take place on Tuesday 8 November. Further industrial action is planned until at least 30 November.

Ben Kirkham GMB Organiser said:

"Our members have today decisively refused this measly improvement to the offer they had already rejected. Tangerine’s continued failure to offer an improved deal has left a sour taste in the mouth.” 

“This dispute comes in the wake of a long line of attacks on paid breaks and hand washing time, reduced, pension contributions reduced and provider changed, training money and bonus payments pulled - the list really is endless.”

“We've seen a US based private equity firm come to the UK and smash the Tangerine dream. What was once a pleasant place to work and a valued career choice for many is now nothing more than a sweet return for its private equity owners.”

“GMB members feel that they have been backed in to a corner and are faced with no other option than to strike and I really must stress that this is the last resort for our members.”


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

Notes to Editors

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 -


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