Kerry Foods braced for further Omagh strike

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Consumer price index Inflation

Generic strike placard
Generic strike placard
Kerry Foods says it hopes to resolve a pay dispute with Unite members at its Omagh dairy, as a 24-hour strike looms from midnight tonight.

Frank Hayes, director of corporate affairs at Kerry Group told that the site, which produces dairy products​ was involved in a highly competitive marketplace.

Hayes said: “There are around 100 staff at this site, of whom less than half are involved in this action. Clearly we want a solution that works to secure the future of the business and meets the needs of employees.”

Unite members took similar action last Tuesday, while another 24-hour stoppage is planned for Tuesday July 26.

Gareth Scott, industrial regional organiser for Unite the Union, said that the workers are striking after the company had offered “a mere one per cent pay rise”.

Security and growth

Scott described the offer as inadequate given current price inflation. He noted that the retail price index is currently running at 5%, while the consumer price index (which excludes housing costs) is registering 4.2%.

He said that workers at the site also felt discriminated against during the current pay round, given that staff at other locations had been offered better pay deals.

According to Unite, Kerry has offered Kerry Foods, Coleraine staff 2% increases, and employees at a site in Enniskillen variable increases ranging from 2.5 to 4.3%.

Scott added: “Workers in Omagh have co-operated with the employer through the recession and now feel let down by the company in respect of this offer which the workers feel is an insult.”

Asked about the alleged pay discrepancy, Hayes said that Kerry never discussed specific details relating to pay deals.

“We need to secure the future security and growth of this site,”​ he said.

Related topics People & Skills Dairy

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