Chocolate spread lovers have been sent into total meltdown after news that the world’s favourite brown goo might be about to suffer a chronic shortage. According to multiple reports, the threat comes after workers at Ferrero’s Villers-Ecalles production plant halted production and established a blockade of the facility, demanding an increase in wages and a bonus. As a result, no deliveries have entered the plant for a week.
Under ordinary circumstances, the massive Villers-Ecalles facility churns out approximately 25% of the planet’s Nutella, shipping out an estimate 600,000 jars a day all over the world. However, the current crisis has caused ingredients to dwindle, and all but one of the facility’s production lines to continue operating - with that only working at around 20% capacity.
The dispute comes after around 160 workers demanded a pay increase of 4.5%, as well as a bonus payment of €900. However, the company has so far rebuffed their requests, instead offering a 0.4% increase and no additional bonus. As a result, the workers’ union said that 160 employees have been on strike since March 27 and have no intention of returning any time soon.
According to The Metro, Force Ouvriere representative Fabrice Canchel said that “no lorry has gone in or out of the site’ since the workers began their demonstration, dramatically affecting production and threatening supply. The situation has also, he alleges, affected the production of Kinder Bueno, another signature Ferrero product.
Unsurprisingly, the powers that be at Ferrero have not reacted positively to the news. In a statement released to the media, the company said that those striking were in the minority in a workforce that numbers more than 400, adding, “The priority of the management of the factory is to protect those staff who are not striking and who are the majority and want to continue to work in good conditions.” The Guardian have also reported that an internal message has been distributed to those on strike, warning them that the protest is “illegal” and threatening heavy fines if they continue to blockade the factory.
It is currently difficult to see who or what will break the impasse. Canchel has already rejected the assertion that the strike is illegal, declaring that the company’s policy “is an unacceptable violation of the right to strike.” Whatever happens, one thing remains clear - the near future of Nutella is far from certain.