Strike action at Allied Bakeries’ site in Castlereagh Road, Belfast, has been paused after the manufacturer improved its pay offer.

The strike began as planned on Sunday 16 February at 6am after workers rejected a “pathetic” 2.5% increase in pay – well below the 5% pay rise they sought.

Allied Bakeries has since improved its offer, which will be put to the workforce in a ballot to decide whether it is sufficient enough to end the strike action.

“The action by Allied Bakeries’ workers was one of the most determined that we have witnessed anywhere in Northern Ireland in many years and brought production on the site to a grinding halt. Management were left in no doubt about the strength of workers’ resolution to win a fair pay increase,” said Susan Fitzgerald, regional coordinating officer for Unite.

“As a direct result of this powerful and effective strike action, which saw delivery vehicles forced to reverse after hours of unsuccessful attempts at passing pickets, an improved pay offer was made.”

Unite had previously warned that the industrial action could affect the supply of pancakes in the run up to Shrove Tuesday.

Fitzgerald added that the action demonstrated the ability of workers to win improvements when they got organised and took action.

“We can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle with union officials over pay at our Belfast bakery,” a spokesperson for Allied Bakeries said.

“As we have said throughout, we want to find a settlement to this dispute and are hopeful that our latest offer will receive the support of our employees when it is put to the ballot next week.”

The strike at Allied Bakeries came just weeks after workers at Hovis’ site in Boucher Road, Belfast voted to end industrial action after accepting a 4% pay increase.