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Dispute at Tyrone meat plant reaches a stalemate

By Heather McGarrigle

Published 30/08/2011

More than 200 workers in Tyrone face an uncertain future as an ongoing industrial dispute has led to stalemate between staff and management.

Around 70 of the 230 employees at the Omagh Meats plant went on strike at 5am on Friday, in a dispute over restructuring within the company.

Changes to factory lines, staffing levels and work structure have left employees upset about the possible negative effect on their working hours, workload and pay.

Trade unionists said all the jobs at the factory came under threat last week, with management claiming they could not now guarantee work for any of the employees.

However, Gareth Scott, of Unite, said the company's management have since advised there is work for staff.

Talks between the union and Omagh Meats managers have broken down.

Mr Scott said: "We would call on the employer to re-engage or to go to conciliation talks with the Labour Relations Agency.

Independent Omagh councillor Patrick McGowan revealed the dispute had been ongoing for "four or five weeks", before coming to a head.

Mr McGowan said the closure of the factory would be "a sheer disaster".

He said: "It is my sincere hope the unions, management and workers are able to come to an amicable solution."

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