Unite: Staff at Vion Llangefni deserve more than 2% pay rise

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Meat Vion

chicken leg
chicken leg
Bosses at meat and poultry giant Vion should find out on September 1 whether staff at its chicken processing plant in Llangefni plan to take strike action over pay.

Staff had been offered a 2% increase in basic pay but were “looking at something more in line with the RPI (retail price index)​”, Paddy McNaught, an organiser at trade union Unite, told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

“Our members - most of whom are on the minimum wage - accepted a pay freeze last year because of the recession, but the site has been producing more recently than it has for some time.

“They are also talking about starting up shift work again ​[the plant is currently operating on a single shift] and they are making reasonable profits, but they appear not to be willing to share these with the workforce.”

Unite has more than 200 members at the factory, which employs more than 300 staff (including casual and agency workers), said McNaught.

Vion declined to comment. A spokesman said: “Until the result of the ballot it seems premature.”

250 new jobs

Vion recently announced plans to create 150 new jobs at its chicken processing site at Coupar Angus and 100 new jobs at its cooked meats plant at Cambuslang.

However, it has also proposed up to 94 redundancies at its Bostock Road factory in Winsford (which employs around 400 staff), while the proposed closure of its bacon factory in Halifax (with production to switch to Scunthorpe) has put 60 jobs at risk.

More than 200 jobs were also cut at Vion’s Welsh Country Foods meat processing plant in Anglesey earlier this year, while a further 180 jobs were axed at its Haverhill cooked meats plant in Suffolk.

The spokesman added: “This must be seen against a background of increased competition and overcapacity in the sector.”

Firms were also bracing themselves for more pain as rising grain prices filtered through into higher meat production costs, he said.

“With pigs and chicken, feed can represent up to 60% of production costs, so this is a real concern.”

However, he stressed that Vion had pumped a significant amount of investment into the business following its acquisition of Grampian in 2008.

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