Union plans to ballot for industrial action in pay dispute at Moy Park
A trade union representing around 4,500 staff at poultry giant Moy Park has said it will ballot for industrial action in a pay dispute.
But the company said it hopes to reach agreement with Unite over the staff pay review.
Trade union Unite has accused the company - which is now owned by US food giant Pilgrim's Pride - of attempting to remove staff shift premiums at its Craigavon and Dungannon sites. It said that 95% of staff supported strike action in a consultative ballot last week. The company was sold by Brazilian food giant JBS to its subsidiary Pilgrim's Pride last year.
The sites employ around 4,600 people. Regional officer Sean McKeever said: "Workers have been offered a measly 3.5% pay increase in return for the loss of shift premium rates. Not only is this lower than the RPI inflation rate over the past year but under the current government's long-term policy to raise the statutory legal minimum wage, pay for workers at Moy Park would have to increase by this amount and more in the next few months in any case. In effect, management are seeking workers' longstanding shift premium rates for nothing."
A spokeswoman for Moy Park said: "We continue to liaise with union representatives and we are hopeful that agreement can be found in the coming days."
Mr McKeever said: "This is not a company that needs to squeeze its workforce - this is a company which is attacking workers' pay and conditions to maximise profits for their corporate shareholders, Indeed at the time of transfer Unite warned that this was the likely intent of JBS' senior global corporate management."