Unite members launch industrial action at Moy Park food factory in County Antrim

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

It is understood around 14 of the 40 staff took part in Monday’s industrial action, which is linked to a pay parity row with other Moy Park sites in the north.

The company said 19 site-based employees are members of Unite.

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

Despite union claims that production had been halted, a Moy Park spokesperson said there was no disruption to operations at the plant on Monday.

In a statement, Unite said drivers, plant operators and engineers had voted 78% to go on strike ‘after rejecting management’s attempts to tie a pay parity deal to the removal of terms and conditions wider”.

The union said: ‘Workers at the site are paid less per hour than workers at Moy Park doing similar work elsewhere in Northern Ireland, but the employer says any move to end unfavorable pay rates must be linked to the loss of workers’ holiday and day bonuses.

In response, a spokesperson for Moy Park said: “Following the successful completion of wage negotiations, which were voted on and accepted by Unite members, we are disappointed to be advised of a strike by Unite the Union .

“The new salary bonus, representing an increase of 8.6% on all base rates and post adjustments, was paid from 1 April 2022.

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

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

Last night South Antrim MP Declan Kearney called on Moy Park management to engage with workers.

“It is outrageous that Moy Park is suggesting that any action to end unfavorable pay rates is linked to the loss of holiday and day bonuses for workers,” said the Sinn Féin Assembly Member.

“I urge the management of Moy Park to properly engage with its workers and provide them with the pay equity they deserve, without any negative consequences for other essential conditions.”