Industrial action at the Belfast site followed the manufacturer’s offer of a 2.2% pay increase over two years, which was rejected by the unions. This was in response to consolidated rates of pay – such as overtime rates, statutory holidays and shift allowances – not reflecting the increase in the National Living Wage.
An Allied Bakeries spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle with union officials over pay at our Belfast bakery.
‘Our latest offer’
“As we have said throughout, we want to find a settlement to this dispute and are hopeful that our latest offer will receive the support of our employees when it is put to the ballot next week.”
Members of the BFAWU and Unite have temporarily suspended strike action to facilitate a ballot on an improved offer by management, bringing an end to 12 hours of picketing that prevented trucks entering or leaving the site.
Unite regional coordinating officer Susan Fitzgerald said: “Today’s action by Allied Bakeries workers was one of the most determined that we have witnessed anywhere in Northern Ireland in many years and brought production on the site to a grinding halt.
“Management were left in no doubt about the strength of workers’ resolution to win a fair pay increase.”
Workforce reps in both Unite and BFAWU will now ballot their members, who will have the final say on Allied Bakeries’ final pay offer.
BFAWU regional officer Laura Graham added: “The powerful actions of our members on the picket line have demonstrated the strength workers have when they stand united and both unions were honoured to see such courage and passion from everyone involved.”
Allied Bakeries is responsible for the Kingsmill, Allinson, Burgen and Sunblest bread brands. Unite claimed the strike action would impact production of pancakes ahead of Shrove Tuesday (18 February).
Meanwhile, jobs at Müller Milk & Ingredients’ Gloucester factory could be at risk, after plans were announced to relocate some of its production away from the site.