Belfast Telegraph

Moy Park workers set to hold vote on strike over wages

By Joanne Fleming

Workers at poultry giant Moy Park are to be balloted over strike action following union claims of "poverty wages".

The Unite union said it was to ballot more than 3,000 of its members across Northern Ireland after a management refusal to offer any pay increase had caused "revulsion".

Unite Regional Officer, Sean McKeever, said: "Marfrig, the Brazilian company which owns Moy Park, boasts that profits from its Northern Ireland operations were £34m in the last reported accounting period.

"Yet despite this profitability and the huge bonuses enjoyed by senior management, workers at the company's factories across Northern Ireland continue to subsist on poverty wages.

"Our members work long hours in a demanding and difficult working environment, yet they are expected to live on pay just marginally higher than the minimum wage.

"Coming on the back of years of inadequate pay increments, Unite has sought a significant increase to wages, but in response management has point-blank refused to countenance any pay increase whatsoever.

"We now have no alternative but to ballot our members across all factories on all-out industrial action to demand fair pay."

A spokeswoman for Moy Park said: "We can confirm that we have had several discussions with Unite regarding pay and we remain open and committed to realistic negotiations.

"We will do this through our established processes and not through the media."

Moy Park is a leading provider of locally-farmed poultry in the UK and Ireland and is recognised as one of the largest producers of organic, free range and corn fed poultry in Europe.

It has 14 processing facilities across the UK, Ireland, Holland and France and works with more than 800 farmers across Northern Ireland and England.

The company's website says: "We supply leading retailers and foodservice providers throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe with a range of high-quality, fresh, coated and added value poultry products."

The company also boasts a three star rating award from Business in the Community as a responsible firm.

Last month the Craigavon-based firm announced it was producing a staggering five million chickens per week for the first time and that its output was the highest in 72 years.

Belfast Telegraph