Fears allayed over job losses at Ballymena plant

Moy Park's Ballymena plant
Moy Park's Ballymena plant

Fears that jobs could be under threat at Ballymena poultry processor O’Kane have been played down by management and unions.

It is understood, however, that consultation is due to start at the plant on Tuesday over proposals by owner Moy Park to changes in shift patterns which are thought to affect prinicipally bakery staff involved in the production of food items as opposed to straightforward poultry processing.

In a statement the company confirmed that “some adjustments to staff structures and shift patterns” were being planned so it could “continue to be well positioned to deliver best in class performance”.

“The proposed changes to staff structures will affect a small number of positions, approximately 30 of a total 1,500 at the site, and consultation is currently underway. It is our firm intention to offer redeployment to the affected people.

“Regarding the shift pattern changes, employee numbers are unaffected and we have commenced a process of consultation with union representatives.”

Speaking to the News Letter on behalf of the bakers’ union the BFAWU, organising regional secreatry, Geoff Atkinson said: “I was contacted on Tuesday, 7, with an anouncement from the company that they proposed to make shift changes for everyone who works shifts at the factory.

“I was then contacted by a number of members with some fears about these

“At this moment in time it’s a company proposal, we have a consultation period which starts next Tuedsay I’m meeting the company then with stewards from the site and, hopefully, we will have some counterproposals to put to the company.

“There are some that may have to work longer night shifts than they currently do but, as I say, at this moment it is just a company proposal.”