Workers at Greencore’s cake manufacturing site in Hull are part-way through a 24-hour strike, following claims their pay has been cut.

Around 500 employees are “fighting to claw back pay after attacks on their terms and conditions, have seen them lose up to £40 per week”, according to Unite the Union.

Its members at Unite recently voted by 81% to take action, after they were angered by the company’s breach of promise to restore cuts to terms made in October 2011, said the trade union.

The union also claims that Greencore’s chief executive Patrick Coveney sought an enhanced $1.7m pay package at the group’s AGM yesterday (29 January).

Malcolm Hancock, regional officer, Unite, said: “This workforce has never taken a day’s strike action but feel they have no other option when faced with a super-rich company who believes itself to be above the law.

“We urge the management now to take heed. They have brought this workforce to the point of despair. They have breached the ETI base code relating to living wages in the food sector and have forced the workers to take their employer to court over what is rightfully theirs.”

The industrial action, the first of its kind at the site, began at 5am this morning, and will end at 4.59am tomorrow (31 January), and will hit product of the firm’s novelty and celebration cakes, which are supplied to supermarkets including Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

A spokesperson for the manufacturer said: “Greencore has issued a number of statements in the past in response to the Unite claims. The company has made numerous attempts to resolve the issues.

“As well as continual dialogue with the workforce, Greencore is also engaged in a legal process to try and find a resolution which, contrary to some claims, has not reached any conclusion. It is therefore inappropriate for us to make any further comment at this stage.”

Yesterday (29 January) Greencore reported a 2.5% rise in revenue for its convenience foods business, to £285.8m, during the 13-week period to 28 December 2012, but said like-for-like growth was flat.