Nearly 150 workers offered real terms pay cut while firm brings in nearly £1bn 

Mill workers employed by animal feed and nutritional product manufacturer AB AGRI are being balloted for strike action over pay, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday). 

The workers, based at mills in Suffolk, Norfork, Oxfordshire, Fife, Devon, Lincolnshire and East and North Yorkshire (see notes to editors for location details), have rejected an imposed pay offer of 4.5 per cent. With the real rate of inflation, RPI, running at 13.4 per cent, this is a significant real terms pay cut.  

AB AGRI’s latest financial report shows it had a turnover of £955 million for the year ending 31 August 2021. AB AGRI’s owner, ABF, reported group revenues of £6.7 billion over the four months to 7 January 2023. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “AB AGRI and ABF are extremely wealthy but expect our members to shoulder a real terms pay cut during the worst of cost of living crisis for a generation. They can absolutely afford to put forward a better offer and we are determined to ensure that they do so.   

“Unite always defends our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and AB AGRI’s workforce have their union’s full support.”

The workers are being balloted until 8 March and any strike action would cause significant disruption to the operations of AB AGRI mills. The dispute is also over AB AGRI’s failure to recognise the mill workers as a national bargaining unit represented by Unite. 

According to Unite, the company’s efforts to undermine collective bargaining and its refusal to allow staff, mainly at its Flixborough site in Lincolnshire, to pursue voluntary redundancy are at odds with its membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative.

Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said: “Disgracefully, AB AGRI is trying to union bust and divide its workers. This is behaviour from the dark days. Unite will not stand for it and nor will we accept the vindictive treatment of any worker at this employer.

“Unite is determined to defend these workers, secure recognition for our union and deliver an offer our members can accept.”


Notes to editors: 

The workers at based at mills in Bury St Edmonds in Suffolk, Walsingham in Norfolk, Flixborough in Lincolnshire, Sherburn in North Yorkshire, Cupar in Fife, Enstone in Oxfordshire, Cullompton in Devon and Fridaythrope in East Yorkshire.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion


Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.