338 employees at Moy Park denied minimum pay do not work at Unite sites but union seeks urgent meeting with CEO for explanation
Wealthy Hutchinson family must answer why their company, Tayto, has had to be fined to pay their workers the legal minimum
March 9th: Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for workers in the agri-food sector, Sean McKeever, responded to revelations that two of Northern Ireland’s largest businesses in the sector were on a list of 179 UK businesses which had been fined over their failure to pay workers the minimum wage:
“A number of Northern Ireland companies are included on a list published by the UK government of 179 employers who have been found guilty of underpaying more than 9,000 minimum wage workers by a total of £1.1 million. Unfortunately Northern Ireland appears to be disproportionately represented – primarily as a result of the inclusion of both Moy Park and Tayto, two of our most prominent agri-food employers.
“In the case of the 338 workers denied a total of more than £33,500 by Moy Park, we understand that they are on sites not represented by Unite. Despite this, we are demanding an urgent meeting with Janet McCollum, the Chief Executive to explain how this has arisen. This is a company which only recently reported £18 million in pre-tax profits – up 7% on the previous year – there can be no excuse.
“Only a few months ago, Ms McCollum received a lifetime award at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards. Instead of spending her time collecting such entrepreneurial accolades, she would be much better addressing the endemic problem of poverty pay among her workforce.
“In regard to Tayto, owned by the Manderlay Group, this is another successful company reporting gross profits of £44 million in 2016 and net profits of £3.3 million again rising steadily. While 50 of their workers were denied the bare legal minimum – total pay to corporate directors for the year was a whopping £2.2 million – with one director pocketing just short of £900k in the year alone.
“The Hutchinson family, who established Tayto and who own a large stake in Manderley, must now publicly account for their failure to address poverty pay. In both cases, Unite is calling on the companies to address this issue for once and all by committing to become a fully-accredited Living Wage employer. That means instead of failing to pay workers a bare minimum of £7.50 (£7.83 from April) – that would mean they would pay all their workers at least £8.75 an hour”, Mr McKeever said.