Moy Park strike ballot called by Unite in defence of workforce terms and conditions

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Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer

Strike ballot of more than three thousand Unite members in largest Northern Ireland employer will proceed in coming weeks

April 15th: Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer representing Unite’s members at Moy Park sites across Northern Ireland confirmed that the union would be balloting members over unreasonable management demands in ongoing pay negotiations.

“When Moy Park was sold by Brazilian meat-packing giant JBS SA to one of its own subsidiaries, Pilgrim’s Pride Corp of the USA, Unite the union forecasted that this would presage a broader onslaught on workforce terms and conditions. Sadly the accuracy of that forecast is now apparent to every Moy Park worker in Northern Ireland. 

“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. In recent pay negotiations they have brought forward proposals seeking to undermine Shift Allowances, Sickness scheme, Holiday entitlement, Attendance allowance, Nomi/Statutory days and decent breaks – T&Cs that were hard won by this workforce over many years and which are simply not up for negotiation.  Continue reading

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Strike action at Balcas, Enniskillen ends as workforce votes overwhelmingly to accept vastly improved pay offer

Balcas celebration

Two year pay deal is worth more than one thousand pounds a worker in first year with guaranteed above-inflation pay increase in year two

First successful private-sector industrial action in Fermanagh in more than a decade has electrified workers in county and galvanised demand for fair pay

April 12th: Gareth Scott, Unite Regional Officer responsible for his union’s membership at Balcas Timber, congratulated the workforce and their shop stewards on a powerful two-day strike action which led to a substantially improved pay offer being made by management at the Fermanagh-based employer. In a ballot over the two shifts on site, a significantly improved pay offer was overwhelmingly accepted bringing the industrial action to an end.

“Balcas employees, whether working in the wood mills or handling timber work exceptionally hard in what can be a difficult and potentially dangerous job. That level of commitment was simply not reflected in the basic pay rate they received with some workers receiving significantly less than seven pounds an hour – a situation only sustained by the bonus system which ensured they didn’t fall below the current legal low pay limit of £8.21. Management had sought to make the workers carry the burden for the uplift in the statutory minimum wage by significant reductions to the system of bonus payments. Continue reading

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Unions at Bombardier to consult membership on industrial action as company’s global management announce latest redundancies blow in Northern Ireland

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Bombardier announces a further 30-35 compulsory redundancies as part of jobs cull only a day after announcing up to forty voluntary redundancies

In response to workforce concerns, a consultative ballot of workforce on strike action has been agreed by Unite and GMB union reps to commence Monday April 29th.

April 9th: Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer responsible for her union’s members in Bombardier, challenged the company’s Montreal-based corporate management over their most recent job-losses announcement.

“Today’s announcement is only the latest instalment in a series of job losses at Bombardier operations in Northern Ireland. Workers across the sites reacted with sadness and indignation to the news that management are to seek a further between thirty and thirty-five compulsory redundancies in order to deliver their target of 490 job losses – part of a global jobs cull of 5,000 to slash $250 million from operating costs. The latest jobs blow comes only a day after the company confirmed up to forty voluntary redundancies; taken in conjunction with previous redundancies under the current round of jobs cuts and following years of large-scale workforce reductions, this marks a nadir for Bombardier’s employment in Northern Ireland. Continue reading

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Encirc workers in Derrylin to be balloted on industrial action after overwhelming rejection of below-inflation pay offer in consultative ballot

MKApril 5th: Derrylin result follows decisive vote by Encirc workforce in Elton, Cheshire rejecting inadequate management pay offer

Unite to establish Encirc joint-bargaining spanning Irish sea with strike ballot planned to proceed concurrently across both sites

Michael Keenan, Unite Regional Officer responsible for his union’s Encirc membership at its site in Derrylin, County Fermanagh, confirmed that his union would be proceeding to a strike ballot of workers after production workers at the site rejected a below-inflation management pay offer.

“Encirc’s production site in Derrylin is highly profitable and the company has a dominant position in the market for glassware in Ireland, north and south. Despite this the company’s workforce remains underpaid for what is a difficult, and can be a dangerous, job; those who work at the hot-end under the incessant heat of the blast furnaces have to take regular shelter in a chill room to avoid overheating. Unfortunately despite these oppressive conditions of work, Encirc’s employees in Fermanagh remain low-paid despite the success of the company. Continue reading

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48 hour strike action at Balcas set to proceed within days as management obstinately refuse workforce pay claim

Gareth ScottApril 4th: Pickets will be placed on gates of Fermanagh-based woodchip production company from 6am Tuesday [April 9th]

Workforce determined to secure decent pay from a business which has benefited hugely from Renewable Heating Initiative scheme

Gareth Scott, Unite Regional Officer responsible for his union’s membership at Balcas Timber, based just outside Enniskillen, confirmed that the workforce had been left with no alternative but to proceed with planned strike action commencing with a two-day strike action starting at 6am on Tuesday morning to 6am on Thursday [April 11th].

“For far too long Fermanagh workers, like so many others across rural parts of Northern Ireland, have suffered from low pay and poor health and safety. Unite is determined to rectify that situation. Balcas employees, whether in lumbering, haulage or production, work exceptionally hard in what can be a difficult and potentially dangerous job. That level of commitment is simply not reflected in the wages they receive. Continue reading

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