Pilgrim’s Foodmasters workforce in Enniskillen wins inflation-busting pay increase

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Members of Unite the union working at Pilgrim’s Foodmasters, formerly Kerry foods, in Enniskillen have ended an industrial dispute with their employer after accepting a pay improvement worth £1.02 an hour to all grades

The increase will be paid to all grades commencing from the beginning of April, the anniversary date.

The increase will be worth 9.3 percent to production workers at the meat and meat-free processor who currently are paid £11.00 an hour; for team leaders the increase is worth 7.6 percent and 5.6 percent for engineers. All these are significantly above the current twelve-month (RPI) inflation rate. The initial offer from the employer was for only an extra 85 pence an hour an offer which was rejected leading to preparations for a strike ballot before an improved offer was obtained.

Unite have said that Pilgrim Food Masters UK ltd is a highly profitable company. In its latest accounts which are to the end of December 2022, management reported a huge sales increase from £123.7 million to £334.1 million on the year with operating profit rising from £19.8 million to £25.9 million. These reported profits reflect both the profitability of the company and the scale of its recent acquisitions.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham welcomed the pay improvement for workers at Pilgrim’s Food Masters: “Pilgrims is a highly profitable and rapidly expanding company whose success is built from the efforts of its employees. Workers have succeeded in obtaining an above-inflation pay improvement and a significant improvement on what was initially offered through their readiness to take strike action. This outcome demonstrates once again the importance of strike-ready workplaces to win real improvements for workers.”

Regional officer for the workforce is Brenda Stevenson who welcomed the outcome: “This is an inflation-busting pay improvement for low-paid workers at Pilgrims and I congratulate those who have secured this improved offer. Pilgrim’s can well afford to share its success with its employees. I would encourage workers across the meat processing sector to join Unite and get involved in building strong teams of reps in their workplace as the best way to improve conditions across the board.”

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