Enniskillen and Coleraine Kerry Foods workers vote overwhelmingly to reject offer which would have left them paid only 28 pence above legal minimum
2019/2020 Living Wage affording access to basic basket of goods and services is £9.30 an hour
Liam Gallagher, Unite Regional Officer called on management at Kerry Foods to address their workers’ legitimate expectation to be paid a Living Wage.
“Over recent months Unite has redoubled our efforts to organise workers at Kerry Foods plants across Northern Ireland and it is clear that these workers, like many others in the Food & Drink sector, have been underpaid for far too long. It’s time to end the low pay culture in the food processing sector.
“Workers have submitted their pay claim for 2020 which calls for an end to poverty pay. Kerry foods is a global food giant which made almost £47 million in profit after tax last year – this is a company which can well afford to share their success with their workforce – and that means paying their employees at least a Living Wage.
“The Living Wage is calculated annually by the Living Wage Foundation, a partnership including Aviva, KPMG, the Joseph Rowntree Trust and Oxfam. It measures the real cost of living, based on a basket of basic household goods and services. Employers like Kerry Foods who pay less than the Living Wage are effectively consigning their workers to poverty.
“Our members in Kerry Foods, Enniskillen plant recently rejected by 92.5% a pay offer which would have seen them paid just 28p above the April 2020 legal minimum, while workers in the Coleraine plant rejected the same offer by 100%.
“Unite’s 2020 Pay Claim calls for the company to pay at minimum the real Living Wage of £9.30 per hours. Management at Kerry Foods must get real about ending in-work poverty or else face the prospect of disruptive industrial action”, Mr Gallagher concluded.