Unite demands meeting with Moy Park Chief Executive Janet McCollum to explain cutback plans
New Moy Park owner Pilgrim’s Pride notorious for poor treatment of workers
September 12th: Unite Regional Officer, Sean McKeever, whose union represents the bulk of the company’s workforce in Northern Ireland, responded to confirmation that Moy Park was to be sold by JBS to Pilgrim’s Pride.
“The news that Moy Park has been sold to Pilgrim’s Pride causes serious concerns to our union and our membership. We question the logic of JBS selling Moy Park to a company in which they own 76% of the shares if it is not to squeeze even greater profits by lowering costs further.
“Workers in the meat-packing industry know what lowering costs means – layoffs, lower pay, speed-up, less breaks and more pressure-related accidents.
“Pilgrim’s Pride has boasted to the financial markets that they will deliver $50 million in annualised ‘cost savings’ from Moy Park.
“Unite is demanding an urgent meeting with Janet McCollum, the Chief Executive of Moy Park, who welcomed this sell-off – to clarify just where these savings will be found.
“Our colleagues in the trade union, UFCW, who represent ten thousand Pilgrim’s Pride workers in the US and with whom we maintain close contact, have indicated to us that Pilgrim’s Pride is one of the worst employers in the industry.
“Pilgrim’s Pride was one of the employers singled out in last year’s Oxfam report ‘No Relief’, which highlighted how workers on US production sites were forced to urinate and defecate at the line due to the absence of proper comfort breaks.
“The report also catalogued a range of threatening behaviour towards workers who sought to go to the toilet which resulted in workers to wear diapers at work.
“Unite is putting Pilgrim’s Pride on warning – we are prepared to fight to defeat any race to the bottom on our members’ terms and conditions. You will not make $50 million savings at the expense of our members”, Mr McKeever ended.