Signature raises wages to mitigate Brexit concerns

Signature Flatbreads is to pay its staff the living wage and has created 50 new jobs at its Dunstable factory.

The company said the decision to raise the wage rate of its permanent factory workers from the National Living Wage of £8.21 to the Real Living Wage of £9 per hour was designed to offer certainty and stability to staff. The company also hopes to eventually offer the Real Living Wage to all agency staff.

Almost two-thirds of workers at the Dunstable site are non-British EU citizens, and the company said many had been left unsettled by the lengthy ongoing Brexit negotiations.

“Our business is only as good as the people who work within it, and we are fortunate to have a dedicated and loyal workforce,” added Signature Flatbreads joint managing director Zizou Benchaoui. “We want to reassure our employees that we will be providing security during this uncertain time.”

The moves come a year after Signature – which was named Bakery Manufacturer of the Year in the 2015 Baking Industry Awards – bought out its joint venture partner Aryzta.

The company has also created 50 new jobs in 2019, after winning new business and adding two new production lines at Dunstable.

Signature said its stability had been demonstrated by the recent launch of new Deli Kitchen products and growing significance of its exports to non-EU countries. The company supplies flatbreads, including tortilla wraps, pitta and naan bread, to major UK retailers and foodservice operators, as well as to 30 countries.

“Manufacturing top-quality products is essential to our success, so we believe this significant and ongoing investment is a clear signal to the industry of our confidence as a business, as well as to our staff, recognising their importance,” added Benchaoui.

“The addition of our two new lines will enable us to keep up with the growing global demand for our flatbreads, while also offering employment opportunities to a considerable number of new workers.”

Founded in 1984 by the Eid family as Honeytop Speciality Foods, Signature was acquired by Aryzta in 2011 and sold back to the Eid family as part of an Aryzta restructure.

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