Unite members at Allied Bakeries in Belfast vote 75 percent for strike action in pursuit of five percent pay increase
Sean McKeever, Regional Officer for Unite with responsibility for the food and drink sector, confirmed his union had informed management of pending strike action after members at United Bakeries on the Castlereagh road, Belfast, voted overwhelmingly for strike action.
Allied Bakeries, with a manufacturing base on the Castlereagh Road Belfast, is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc – a major international business with a turnover of £12.3bn and close to 130,000 employees working in 50 countries. The company produces Sunblest, Kingsmill, Burgen and Allison breads and pancakes for the UK market.
“Strike action is set to proceed after an overwhelming vote of 75 percent for industrial action. We have now informed management that pickets are going up meaning 250 workers will be on strike immediately following the seven days’ notice period.
“The strike is set to commence two weeks before Shrove Tuesday and will shut down production of pancakes at the Castlereagh Road site, the sole source of jammy pancakes for the UK market. It appears highly likely that the industrial action will affect the supply of pancakes to the UK for Pancake Tuesday.
“Workers have been forced into this situation by the unjustifiable approach taken by bosses in pay negotiations. Bosses offered the workers a 2.2 percent pay increase which is barely enough to keep pace with the current rate of inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index – the true measure of inflation experienced by workers. In reality this pay offer represents a real-terms pay stagnation for workers who continue to produce a significant profit for this company.
“Allied Bakeries workers work hard and long to make a living as their basic wage is so low. Once you strip out shift premiums, overtime and bonuses, the basic rate of pay is actually significantly less than the current minimum wage threshold. This situation is untenable and is putting huge pressures on these workers. Against that context, the current pay offer was an insult to Allied Bakeries’ workers.
“We call on management at Allied Bakeries to make a pay offer that meets the workers’ legitimate pay expectations. It is in their power to avoid an unnecessary and potentially hugely disruptive strike action”, Mr McKeever concluded.