Unite 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.

Workers at the Moneynick Road site are currently paid less per hour than workers doing similar work at other Moy Park sites but 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. Strike action at the mill is set to start from 7 am on Monday 6 June.

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.

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. 

“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 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.”