Moy Park: 78% of feed mill employees with chicken producer vote to strike over pay and holiday premiums, says trade union Unite

Trade union Unite says that its members at the Moy Park mill in Randalstown have voted by 78 per cent to take strike action in a dispute over pay parity across the business’s Northern Ireland sites.

Unite members working as drivers, mill operators and engineers at the Moneynick Road feed mill have rejected Moy Park management’s attempts to tie a pay parity deal to removal of wider terms and conditions, the union has claimed.

Unite says that workers at the Moneynick Road site are currently paid less per hour than workers doing similar work at other Moy Park sites but that the employer says that any movement to end unfavourable pay rates must be tied to workers’ losing holiday and special day premiums – which are also paid at other sites.

The union says that strike action at the mill is set to start from 7am on Monday June 6.

Moy Park feedmill workers have voted to strike over pay and holiday premiums.

The approximate workforce of 40 who work at the mill produce chicken feed for thousands of farms supplying Moy Park across Northern Ireland. Unite is warning that the company’s “greed” is attacking members’ wages and putting animal welfare at risk.

The union says Moy Park group made an operating profit of £86 million last year with the total package paid to its highest paid director worth £924,000.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, offered her full support to the workers.

“Moy Park wants to give with one hand but grab back more with the other and that’s just not acceptable to Unite,” she said.

“This company can well afford to pay fairly. Our members are saying loud and clear that they will not put up with any attacks on terms and conditions, and that those working at the feed mill should be paid the same as their colleagues working elsewhere within the business.

“Unite’s members have the full backing of their union in taking strike action to win themselves pay parity.”

Regional Unite officer Sean McKeever added: “Moy Park needs to recognise the determination of this workforce at Moneynick to end pay inequality with other sites. In the absence of movement, this strike is going ahead on Monday from 7am and will shut down production at this critical site. Even if Moy Park can source alternative supplies, there will undoubtedly be an impact for farming in Northern Ireland. The company’s greed is not just harming our members but harming animal welfare too.

“Management know what is needed to avert this strike – they need to return to the table with a no-strings offer to guarantee pay parity for these workers.”

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% on all basic rates and shift allowances, has been payable from 1st April 2022. The proposed strike by up to 19 Unite members at the Mill will not disrupt our operations or customer service levels.”