Business

Unite members launch industrial action at Moy Park feed mill in Co Antrim

Moy Park said around 14 workers took part in Monday's industrial action at its Moneynick site.

MEMBERS of the Unite union have gone on strike at Moy Park's feed mill in Co Antrim.

It's understood around 14 of the 40-strong workforce took part in the industrial action on Monday, which is linked to a row over pay parity with other Moy Park sites around the north.

The company said 19 staff based at the site are members of Unite.

The facility at Moneynick, near Randalstown, produces chicken feed for farms in the Moy Park supply chain.

Despite claims by the union that production had been shut down, a spokesperson for Moy Park claimed said there was no disruption to operations at the mill on Monday.

In a statement, Unite said drivers, mill operators and engineers had voted by 78 percent to take strike action “having rejected management attempts to tie a pay parity deal to removal of wider terms and conditions”.

The union said: “Workers at the site are paid less per hour than Moy Park workers doing similar work elsewhere in Northern Ireland but the employer says that any movement to end unfavourable pay rates must be tied to workers' losing holiday and day premiums.”

In response, a spokesperson at Moy Park said: “Following the successful completion of pay negotiations, which were balloted on and accepted by Unite members, we are disappointed to be notified of strike action by Unite the Union.

“The new pay award, representing an increase of 8.6 per cent on all basic rates and shift allowances, has been paid from April 1 2022.

“The proposed strike by up to 19 Unite members at the mill will not disrupt our operations or customer service levels.”

Owned by the US-based Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, Moy Park is one of Northern Ireland's most profitable businesses. The latest set of accounts published by the food group show it recorded a pre-tax profit of £75.8m in 2020.

South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney last night called on Moy Park management to engage with the workers.

“It is outrageous that Moy Park would suggest any move to end unfavourable pay rates should be linked to workers' losing holiday and day premiums,” said the Sinn Féin Assembly member.

“I would urge management at Moy Park to engage properly with its workers and to deliver the pay parity which they deserve, without any adverse consequence for other essential terms and conditions.”

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