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Belfast bakery strike may lead to pancake shortage in UK for Shrove Tuesday

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Unite the Union announced last night that 75% of its members at Allied Bakeries voted for strike action in pursuit of a 5% pay increase

Unite the Union announced last night that 75% of its members at Allied Bakeries voted for strike action in pursuit of a 5% pay increase

Unite the Union announced last night that 75% of its members at Allied Bakeries voted for strike action in pursuit of a 5% pay increase

The UK is facing the prospect of having no jammy pancakes on Shrove Tuesday in two weeks after Unite members at Allied Bakeries in Belfast voted to strike, a trade union has warned.

Unite the Union announced last night that 75% of its members at Allied Bakeries voted for strike action in pursuit of a 5% pay increase.

The strike is set to begin two weeks before Shrove Tuesday and will shut down production of pancakes at Allied Bakeries' site on Castlereagh Road, the sole source of jammy pancakes for the UK market.

Unite regional officer Sean McKeever confirmed his union had informed management of pending strike action.

"We have now informed management that pickets are going up, meaning 250 workers will be on strike immediately following the seven days' notice period," he said.

"It appears highly likely that the industrial action will affect the supply of pancakes to the UK for Pancake Tuesday.

"Workers have been forced into this situation by the unjustifiable approach taken by bosses in pay negotiations.

"Bosses offered the workers a 2.2% pay increase, which is barely enough to keep pace with the current rate of inflation as measured by the retail price index, the true measure of inflation experienced by workers.

"In reality, this pay offer represents a real-terms pay stagnation for workers who continue to produce a significant profit for this company."

Mr McKeever said the situation was "untenable" for workers and said the current pay offer from Allied Bakeries was "an insult".

"We call on management at Allied Bakeries to make a pay offer that meets the workers' legitimate pay expectations.

"It is in their power to avoid an unnecessary and potentially hugely disruptive strike action," he added.

A spokesperson for Allied Bakeries said: "We are proud of our reputation as a long-term and stable employer in the community and are therefore disappointed that some of our employees have voted for industrial action over pay.

"All those involved within this ballot are paid at rates above the Living Wage Foundation's recommended UK hourly rate and provided with a range of in-work benefits including life insurance and pension provision that, for some long-serving colleagues, is based upon their final salary.

"As in previous years, we have committed to increasing our annual rate of pay this year and our hope remains that we can resolve this situation without disruptive industrial action."

Allied Bakeries is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc, which Unite the Union says has a turnover of £12.3bn and employs nearly 130,000 workers in 50 countries.

The company produces Sunblest, Kingsmill, Burgen and Allison breads and pancakes for the UK market.

Belfast Telegraph