Allied Bakeries workers in Belfast are set to take strike action in a dispute over pay.
Union Unite has warned that a strike at Allied’s factory in Castlereagh Road, Belfast, could hit supply of pancakes ahead of Shrove Tuesday, as the site is the only one that produces jammy pancakes for the UK market.
Allied responded by saying it has contingency plans in place and does not anticipate that supply of core Kingsmill and Sunblest pancakes would be significantly impacted by the strike.
Three-quarters of Unite members voted for strike action. They are seeking a 5% pay increase after the company offered 2.2%.
“Strike action is set to proceed after an overwhelming vote of 75% for industrial action,” said Unite regional officer Sean McKeever.
He added that management had been informed pickets were going up, which meant 250 workers would 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.”
McKeever said the 2.2% pay increase offered to workers was barely enough to keep pace with the current rate of inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index.
“This situation is untenable and is putting huge pressures on these workers. The current pay offer was an insult to Allied Bakeries’ workers.”
Allied Bakeries said it was “disappointed” that some employees had voted for industrial action over pay.
“All those involved within this ballot are paid at rates above The Living Wage Foundation’s recommended UK hourly rate and provided with a range of in-work benefits, including life insurance and pension provision that, for some long-serving colleagues, is based upon their final salary.
“As in previous years, we have committed to increasing our annual rate of pay this year and our hope remains that we can resolve this situation without disruptive industrial action.”
News of the Allied strike comes two weeks after Hovis bakery workers cancelled a strike over pay, accepting a 4% increase.
Update: The strike action at Allied Bakeries’ Castlereagh Road site in Belfast has been paused after an improved pay offer was made by the company.