A vote in favour for industrial action would see more than 3,000 of the manufacturer’s 6,300 staff walk out over an “onslaught on workforce terms and conditions”.
Unite regional officer Sean McKeever said the problems were apparent from the moment Moy Park was sold by Brazilian meat-packing giant JBS to its US subsidiary Pilgrims Pride in 2017.
‘Attacking terms and conditions’
“From our first meetings with the incoming management team it was apparent that they were intent on attacking terms and conditions of workers in the region which remain among the best of any workforce in the UK agri-food industry,” said McKeever.
“In recent pay negotiations they have brought forward proposals seeking to undermine shift allowances, the sickness scheme, holiday entitlement, attendance allowance, Nomi/statutory days and decent breaks – terms and conditions that were hard won by this workforce over many years, which are simply not up for negotiation.”
McKeever criticised Moy Park, claiming the firm “slash and burn their way in a race-to-the-bottom on rights and entitlements”, especially given that profits were in growth.
‘Attacks on workers’ pay’
“These are not businesses that are struggling for survival, the attacks on workers’ pay and conditions are simply part of a drive to maximise profits and increase returns for corporate shareholders,” he added.
“Management needs to recognise the determination of this workforce before it leads to unnecessary and entirely avoidable disruption to their operations here.”
Responding to Unite, a Moy Park spokesman said: “We are aware of the recent union statement and we will continue to engage with the union and work towards a negotiated agreement.”
Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer (M&S) supplier Bakkavor has defended a 2.75% pay rise offered to staff at its Bo’ness plant and said there were no plans to reopen negotiations.