Allied Bakeries workers back strike action over pay

Gary McDonald Business Editor

UNITE union members at Allied Bakeries in Belfast have voted by 75 per cent for strike action in pursuit of five per cent pay increase.

And their action is likely to severely dent pancake production during the peak build up to Shrove Tuesday.

Staff at the bakery on the Castlereagh Road - the company makes Kingsmill, Sunblest, Burgen and Allison breads - were balloted after rejecting a 2.2 per cent pay offer.

Unite regional officer Sean McKeever said: “We've informed management that pickets are going up, meaning 250 workers will strike immediately following the seven days’ notice period.

“The strike is set to commence two weeks before Shrove Tuesday and will shut down production of pancakes at the Castlereagh Road site, the sole source of jammy pancakes for the UK market.”

Allied Bakeries is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc. The international conglomerate, which also owns Primark, employs 130,000 people, with an annual turnover of around £12bn.

In a statement, the company 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.” 

Addressing issues regarding supply, the company added: “We can confirm that we have contingency plans in place and do not anticipate that supply of our core Kingsmill, Sunblest and own-label pancakes would be significantly impacted by this action.”

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