Workers at Tayto vote to strike in pay dispute
Union members at the Tayto crisps factory in Co Armagh have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.
Ninety-seven per cent of its 130 members among the Tandragee company's 250 workforce voted for action up to and including a strike in a row over pay.
Workers were balloted after management told them there would be no pay rise beyond that required to meet the increase in the minimum wage in October.
Speaking when the ballot was called, Unite regional organiser Sean McKeever said most workers were earning just £5.35 an hour.
"Most of our people are on the minimum wage.
"We want to be above the minimum wage and we want a cost of living increase now.
"The company is hiding behind minimum wage legislation - they have to pay it and it is expected to be increased by the Government by around 3% in October."
Last night the company issued a statement saying: "We are currently in ongoing negotiations with the union and will be working with them and the Labour Relations Agency this week with the aim of achieving a satisfactory outcome for everyone."
The statement added that the company was still hopeful that there would be no need for strike action.
Last month the company, which has plans for expansion, denied union claims about pay saying that over the last 10 years, it had given weekly paid employees annual pay increases of between 2.5% and 3.25%.
The Tayto company is 50 years old. The castle where the crisps are made is more than 400 years old.