Over 3,000 Moy Park workers are being balloted for strike action in a row over workforce terms and conditions.
Trade union Unite claimed that the Northern Ireland-based company has made “unreasonable demands” in ongoing pay negotiations, arguing that management risks undermining existing terms with its proposals on shift allowances, sickness schemes, holiday entitlement, statutory days and breaks.
“Moy Park’s workforce in Northern Ireland has a strong and well-organised team of Unite workplace representatives,” said regional officer Sean McKeever. “We recently defeated an attempt to divide maintenance engineers from the bargaining unit and saw off attempts to keep union officials off-site. Management needs to think again – this is not a workforce that will stand by as they slash and burn their way in a race to the bottom on rights and entitlements.”
The union also argued that Moy Park’s £60 million pre-tax profits meant that “the attacks on workers’ pay and conditions are simply part of a drive to maximise profits and increase returns for corporate shareholders.” It claimed the situation had been on the cards since the arrival of a new management team following Moy Park’s sale by JBS to Pilgrim’s Pride in 2017.
Unite said it is now preparing the rollout of a ballot on all-out strike action of over 3,000 members in Northern Ireland.
A spokesperson for Moy Park told Poultry Business: “We are aware of the recent union statement and we will continue to engage with the union and work towards a negotiated agreement.”
The news comes at a difficult time for Moy Park, which confirmed earlier this month that it will be temporarily ceasing processing live birds at Ballymena due to challenging market conditions, with a view to re-opening the line in January 2020. Linked to the decision, its North Antrim Hatchery will cease hatching until November 2019.