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Allied Bakeries: Workers ‘pause’ industrial action after new offer by employer

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Bakery workers on strike in Belfast in a dispute over pay

Bakery workers on strike in Belfast in a dispute over pay

Bakery workers on strike in Belfast in a dispute over pay

Bakery workers on strike in Belfast in a dispute over pay

Bakery workers on strike in Belfast in a dispute over pay

Pancake Tuesday could be back on after workers trying to earn a crust at one of the UK’s largest bakeries “paused” their strike after being made an offer.

Staff at Allied Bakeries in east Belfast walked out early on Sunday morning for the first time in decades in a row over a 3% pay claim.

The factory makes products such as Kingsmill bread and Sunblest pancakes.

Ahead of Shrove Tuesday, this is one of the busiest weeks of the year at the site, which is part of Associated British Foods.

The multinational company owns a series of brands, including clothes retailer Primark, and posted profits of around £1.4bn last year.

A Kingsmill lorry stopped at the gates where dozens of workers carrying red Unite the Union flags demonstrated in the morning chill.

Local police mediated.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Susan Fitzgerald had said: “There will be no Pancake Tuesday celebrated in Northern Ireland and we hope to affect it elsewhere as well.

“We will be sending people to stand outside supermarkets leafleting, saying that other working people, in solidarity with Allied Bakery workers, should boycott Sunblest, Kingsmill and the other products that come out of here.

“That includes a favourite unfortunately, pancakes, which are going to be in demand next week.”

She said the company’s turnover was worth £12bn but workers were being denied a 3% pay increase.

But shortly before 8pm, it was announced by the union that strike action had been “paused” after Allied Bakeries made an improved pay offer

The workforce will now be balloted on whether the new offer is sufficient to end the strike action.

“As a direct result of this powerful and effective strike action, which saw delivery vehicles forced to reverse after hours of unsuccessful attempts at passing pickets, an improved pay offer was made,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“Today has once again demonstrated the ability of workers to win improvements when they get organised and take action.”

In a statement earlier, the firm said it was proud of its reputation “as a long-term and stable employer in the community” and they were disappointed about the action.

“All employees involved are paid at rates above that recommended by the Living Wage Foundation and benefit from subsidised pensions, free life insurance cover as well as a range of other benefits,” it said.

Belfast Telegraph