Decision to shutdown kill line at Ballymena reflects failure of management to meet post-Brexit labour market challenges
Union questions logic of suspension as business will face even greater problems recruiting to reopen in September
For the second time in three years, Moy Park has suspended the operation of its chicken kill line at Ballymena citing difficulties with raw materials, high energy costs and the loss of a recent contract. Unite challenged the explanation offered by the company and stated that the overriding reason for the closure was the chronic labour shortages that the company was experiencing. Union workforce reps are reporting a complete stalling of inductions as recruitment has stalled across the company.
Moy Park is Northern Ireland’s biggest employer and a hugely profitable company. The company’s latest filed accounts, for 2020, reported an increased profit of £86 million on turnover of £1.45 billion – with profits up by 15 percent on the previous year. Unite is calling for business to use these vast profits to improve the pay and conditions of its workforce to attract and retain new recruits as the only way to safeguard the current productive capacity of the business.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said,
“Moy park management need to recognise that Brexit has completely changed the labour market in Northern Ireland. They cannot continue to offer low pay and poor working conditions and rely on overseas recruitment to fill the gaps resulting from high staff turnover.
“This is a hugely successful company but instead of amassing more and more profits for shareholders, management need to increase pay and deliver real improvements to terms and conditions to avoid a damaging staffing crisis which will hugely impair their productive capacity.”