Fourteen Moy Park workers have established a picket at the company’s feed-mill site on the Moneynick Road, Randalstown in a strike to win pay parity with other Northern Ireland sites.

Strike action, led by members of Unite the Union, began at 7:00a.m on Monday, June 6, which produces chicken feed for thousands of farms supplying Moy Park across Northern Ireland.

The union stated that the company’s “greed is attacking members’ wages and putting animal welfare at risk”.

Drivers, mill operators and engineers voted by 78% to take strike action having rejected management attempts to tie a pay-parity deal to removal of wider terms and conditions.

Workers at the site are paid less per hour than Moy Park employees doing similar work elsewhere in Northern Ireland but the union claimed that the employer said ending unfavourable pay rates must be tied to workers’ losing holiday and day premiums.

Unite the Union stated that the Moy Park group made an operating profit of £86 million last year with the total package paid to its highest-paid director worth £924,000.

General secretary of the union, Sharon Graham, said:

“Our members overwhelmingly reject Moy Park’s attempts to give with one hand but grab back more with the other.

“This strike will continue until Moy Park pays the rate for the job. This company can well afford to do so – it is boardroom greed that prevents them from acting with decency.

“Unite’s members have the full backing of their union in their strike.”

Regional officer, Sean McKeever, added: “Moy Park needs to deliver pay equality with other sites.

“This strike has shut down production and even if Moy Park can source alternative supplies, there will undoubtedly be an impact for farm suppliers in Northern Ireland.

“The company’s greed is not just harming our members but harming animal welfare too.

“Management know what is needed to end this strike – they need to return to the table with a no-strings offer to guarantee pay parity for these workers.”

A spokesperson at Moy Park said:

“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 April 1, 2022.

“The proposed strike by up to 19 Unite members at the mill will not disrupt our operations or customer service levels.”