Hovis workers at the Boucher Road site in Belfast have voted to end industrial action after accepting a 4% pay increase.

Members from Unite the Union and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) were due to start an all-out strike at one minute past midnight on Friday 24 January over a pay dispute in which they were offered a 3.2% pay rise – less than the 5.1% they sought.

However, this was put on hold following a 4% offer from the company, which has been accepted.

“Hovis is pleased to announce that discussions between Hovis Ireland and Unite the Union and BFAWU have reached a positive conclusion,” the company said in a statement.

“The strike action which was planned for Friday 31 January 2020 has been cancelled with immediate effect following successful discussion and an agreed pay increase.”

Sean McKeever, regional officer at Unite the Union, said it was an “inflation-busting” pay increase which would make a real difference to its Hovis members.

“I’m very proud of our members at Hovis who have demonstrated the power of a union through their willingness to take all-out strike action in pursuit of a fair pay settlement,” he said.

“The workforce voted by 88% to take industrial action, rejecting a pay offer that was only 1% above the current inflation rate. Two days before the commencement of all-out strike action, bosses reverted with a 4% pay offer, which they have now voted to accept.”

He added that it put employers in the food and drink industry “on notice”, as Unite sought to secure pay improvements across the sector. Allied Bakeries is one of the companies it is in talks with.