Moy Park bosses refusal to provide workforce Covid testing blasted by Unite the union

Moy ParkGroup’s latest profits showed £72 million in operating profits with the top-paid director receiving £2.6 million

In the face of total and continued inaction by the Stormont Ministers on crisis in meatpacking sector, workers will organise to defend themselves

Sean McKeever, Regional Officer for Unite, blasted the refusal of Moy Park bosses to provide Covid-19 testing to their workforce as fears rise over the development of clusters at their Portadown and Dungannon sites. Workforce concerns grew after Unite revealed that a member working in Moy Park Dungannon sadly died from the condition.

“Moy Park is Northern Ireland’s largest private sector business – a hugely successful company – but that success has been built on the backs of their workforce. It’s latest accounts show that sales topped £1.6 billion – an increase of four percent on the previous year – while operating profits were up to £72 million. The top paid Director received more than £2.6 million in terms of pay and pension contributions. 

“These figures confirm that Moy Park doesn’t need to cut corners. With Bombardier, the second biggest company in Northern Ireland, facilitating testing of workers and their family members when requested, employees at Moy Park are asking why they are being treated as second-class by their employer.

“Following our revelation that a Moy Park worker sadly died of this virus, we are hearing of increasing reports of workers self-isolating with symptoms at both Dungannon and Portadown sites. Meatpacking workers stand for hours in close proximity in cold conditions – this is an implicitly high-risk sector – it is no accident that we’ve seen huge outbreaks across the USA, Brazil and Canada already.

“Management claim that they are fulfilling the minimalist PHA guidelines but it is clear that these are completely inadequate to protect meatpacking workers. Doing the bare minimum when it comes to infection control is not good enough. Employers have a duty to keep their employees safe which is enshrined in law.  In the face of total and continued inaction by Stormont Ministers on this crisis in the meatpacking sector, workers will have to organise to defend themselves.

“The refusal of bosses to provide workforce testing to their workforce is a simply not good enough. This cannot be about cost  you cannot put a price on workers’ health and well-being. The bosses had better recognise that when workers get organised, the real power in meatpacking is on the shop-floor – health must be put before profit”, Mr McKeever concluded.

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