Pickets for Boucher Road site will go up at one minute past midnight on Friday after 88 percent majority votes for strike action in pursuit of 5.1 percent pay claim
Deducting shift premiums, overtime and bonuses, Hovis workers receive a basic wage 90 pence below national minimum wage threshold
Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer, explained the reasons for the all-out strike action being taken by his union’s members at the Hovis site in Belfast from midnight on Friday morning [January 24th]:
“If you strip away their shift premiums, bonuses and overtime payments, workers at Hovis’ Boucher Road site have a basic pay rate 90 pence below the national minimum wage. As such, in recent pay negotiations, the workers are seeking a pay uplift of 5.1 percent equivalent to 37 pence an hour on their basic rate.
“Unfortunately management have completely failed to address those legitimate pay expectations in recent pay talks. Bosses refused to meet the pay claim and instead offered a meagre 23 pence an hour uplift (3.2 percent). In effect, bosses are forcing workers to the gate for less than 14 pence an hour in terms of a differential. This is both scandalous and an insult to the workforce.
“Pickets will be going up outside the Boucher Road plant at a minute past midnight on Friday morning. The strike action will be continuous – it is an all-out strike as the workers are determined to secure themselves fair pay. This is a fight they cannot afford to lose but is likely to result in considerable disruption to this company’s ability to provide bread across Northern Ireland for the duration.
“Unite is also separately balloting our members at the other main bread manufacturer in Northern Ireland, Allied Bakeries. Workers in the sector are getting organised – they are serious about winning real improvements in pay”, Mr McKeever concluded.