Unions end strike at Barry Callebaut chocolate manufacturer

Production is back to full speed at chocolate maker Barry Callebaut's factory in Wieze, East Flanders, after unions organised short strikes out of dissatisfaction with a cutback plan. Some 500 jobs are at stake at several of the company's sites in Belgium. 

With its BC Next Level savings plan, the company aims to simplify, digitise and reduce costs by 15 per cent. This will lead to job losses. In total, the operation will affect 2,500 jobs and will force the closure of a factory in Germany. 

In Wieze, where the company operates the largest chocolate warehouse in the world and employs some 1,200 people, short strikes were held out of dissatisfaction with the plan. After a special works council between management and unions, it was reportedly decided that fewer than five jobs would be cut. Negotiations on the 450 other threatened jobs are still ongoing.

Barry Callebaut reported a lower-than-expected half-year operating profit on Wednesday due to one-off costs caused by its transformation plan. For the six months to 28 February, earnings before interest and taxes fell by around 40 per cent to 178.1 million Swiss francs (181.53 million euros). Sales revenues increased by 11 per cent thanks to the significant increase in cocoa prices and the broader inflationary environment.



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