Unite has determined that Moy Park is paying its workers at its’ Randalstown Plant £5,000 a year less than those at other company sites. Members of the Union who work in the plant are now on the fourth day of strike action.
Revealing the shocking pay disparity, Unite says that Maintenance Electrical engineers at Moy Park’s Carn Hatchery start with a base salary advertised as £32k a year. But a worker doing the same work at Randalstown starts on £26.6k – a staggering difference of over £5k a year.
Randalstown drivers are also paid less than other company drivers. The union has calculated that on a standard 11.5 hour working day, drivers based at Randalstown receive £13.35 less a day than drivers based at Dungannon. Over a six day week, that is a difference of £80.10 or £4,165 over a year.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham:
“Moy Park must address this scandalous pay inequality. There should be no argument – pay the Randalstown workers the rate for job. The prices our members, who work at Randalstown, pay for fuel bills and food are not £5000 a year less than you’d pay in Dungannon.
“Moy Park must meet our members’ entirely reasonable demand that they are paid the same as their colleagues, or this strike will continue with the full and continuing support of Unite.”
The strike by drivers, mill operators and engineers follows a 78% vote in favour of strike action to tackle this shocking pay inequality. Moy Park is also aiming to cut pay entitlements for working official holidays by half.
Unite have claimed that as a result of the strike action, production of chicken feed at the Randalstown site has dropped from eight thousand tonnes a week to two thousand tonnes a week with the company being forced to buy in feed for its suppliers from competitor mills.
However a spokesperson at Moy Park confirmed the strike has not disrupted operations or customer service levels.
Unite regional officer Sean McKeever added:
“Our members are buoyed by the huge levels of support from the local community who recognise that this is a David versus Goliath struggle of right over might.
“Our members’ skills are needed at this site. They handle dangerous chemicals in bulk while mixing up the chicken feed. But we fear Moy Park’s attempts to maintain production during the strike could result in costly errors, health and safety breaches, and animal welfare issues.
“Moy Park bosses need to address these members’ pay concerns and end the strike.”
In response to the action announced by Unite members, a spokesperson at Moy Park commented:
“Following the successful completion of pay negotiations, which were balloted on and accepted by Unite members, we are disappointed to be notified of strike action by Unite the Union.
“The new pay award, representing an increase of 8.6% on all basic rates and shift allowances, has been paid from 1st April 2022.
“The proposed strike by up to 19 Unite members at the Mill will not disrupt our operations or customer service levels.”