Workers at Allied Bakeries’ site in Castlereagh Road, Belfast, have voted to end industrial action after a “significantly” improved pay offer from the company.

The strike began at 6am on Sunday 16 February, but was paused after Allied increased its offer. Workers had previously rejected a 2.5% increase in pay – well below the 5% pay rise sought – but have since accepted an improved offer of a 3% pay rise in the first year and 2.9% in the second year.

“The workers at Allied Bakeries have voted overwhelmingly with a 90% majority to accept the significantly improved pay offer made by the company. This provides an above-inflation pay increase and will mean that, instead of real-terms incomes falling as would have been the case with offers only days ago, these workers will now enjoy a real-terms pay increase,” said Susan Fitzgerald, regional coordinating officer for Unite.

“This outcome was hard won and was only achieved through the strength and militancy of the workers themselves. Indeed, the failure to breach the workers’ picket line was the decisive factor in winning this uplift and forced bosses to the negotiating table.”

A spokesperson for Allied Bakeries added: “We can confirm that we have reached an agreement with union officials over pay at our Belfast bakery and are pleased that this offer has now received the full support of our employees and their representatives.”

Fitzgerald added that this was the second recent win for its members in Northern Ireland bakeries.

“In the case of Hovis, managers averted a strike by moving quickly to show some respect and increase their offer. In the case of Allied Bakeries, it took workers taking to picket lines in freezing conditions for them to see sense,” she added.