Around 230 striking workers stage protest outside Co Armagh meat factory

Striking workers stage protest outside ABP Meats in Lurgan
Striking workers stage protest outside ABP Meats in Lurgan
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Around 230 striking workers are protesting outside a Co Armagh meat factory over pay and conditions.

The one-day strike has led 230 workers to down tools at ABP Meats in Lurgan.

The dispute at the Goodman-owned plant is being driven by what the UNITE the union says is low pay and anti-family hours.

Brian Hewitt, Unite Regional Officer said that of the 300 workforce on the shop floor, 230 had gone on strike.

A union statement said: "The first in a series of planned stoppages at the Anglo Beef Processing plant in Lurgan will start at 00.01 hours tomorrow (Monday 4th November), with pickets being placed at the gates from 6 am.

"The stoppage will last for 24 hours ending at midnight. An overwhelming 93.1 per cent of workers voted to take strike action in a dispute centred on the company’s decision to offer a below-inflation pay increase while also seeking to unilaterally impose earlier shift start times which will make childcare arrangements even more difficult for the low-paid workforce.

Mr Hewitt said: “Low-paid ABP workers in Lurgan cannot avoid their family responsibilities – and the new shift times will make it almost impossible for them to make childcare arrangements. The offer of a derisory pay increase while also seeking to impose anti-family shift starts is an insult to a committed workforce which has built the success of ABP. Management’s aggressive approach has left the workers with no option but to take strike action.

“If they want to ensure that production lines run smoothly in the run-up to Christmas, management needs to come to the table with realistic pay increases which reflect our members’ living costs, and they need to engage in meaningful discussions with the workers on shift times. ABP should be in no doubt that our members are determined to defend their and their families’ living standards”, Mr Hewitt said.

The firm were contacted but no one was available for comment.

In a statement last week an ABP spokesperson said: “ABP has been in negotiations with colleague representatives and remains open to and available for further engagement through the appropriate industrial relations channels.”