Lurgan factory workers strike over shift patterns
Around 240 staff are on strike today at a Lurgan meatpacking factory over a disruption to shift patterns which they claim are impacting on childcare arrangements.
Workers at the Larry Goodman-owned Anglo Beef Processing (ABP) began a 24-hour strike at midnight with 80% of the firm's staff taking part, while pickets formed at 6am.
Unite regional officer Brian Hewitt said: "Management in ABP meats in Lurgan have adopted an extremely antagonistic and aggressive approach to their workforce.
"Workers have been left with no alternative but to take strike action to defend themselves and their families.
"The strike action follows an overwhelming 93.1% vote of workers for action in an independently conducted industrial ballot."
Mr Hewitt slammed the offer of a 2% pay rise after bosses pushed for a change to current starting times was "measly".
He said: "The pay increase itself is an insult to the workers. Not only is it significantly below the current rate of inflation at a time when the ABP meat group are reported in the Press to have declared €170m in profits for 2018, but it is tied to plans for early start times for shifts.
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"In the mouth of Christmas, workers will be forced to stand long hours on picket lines in the cold, striking to defend their ability to provide care for their children in the mornings. Responsibility for this disgraceful situation falls squarely in the lap of ABP bosses.
"We call on them to step back, see sense and engage with the union in good faith to negotiate terms agreeable to their workforce."
ABP said: "ABP has been in negotiations with colleague representatives and remains open to and available for further engagement through the appropriate industrial relations channels."
ABP has 51 locations across the UK, Ireland and Europe.