Northern Ireland

Court injunction halts Tyrone meat plant strike

A court injunction that halted a strike at a meat factory in County Tyrone "undermined the democratic process", a leading union has claimed.

More than 150 workers at Omagh Meats were due to walk out of the plant on Thursday morning.

However, the Foyle Food Group, which runs the factory, was granted a temporary injunction against the strike late on Wednesday night.

Unite said the court's decision was "totally unacceptable".

Workers at Omagh Meats are embroiled in a long running pay dispute with the firm and voted for strike action after rejecting a 1.5% salary increase.

The company applied for an injunction, which was granted on Wednesday and extended until Friday.

Unite's Irish Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said: "The fundamental issue here is the High Court intervening to undermine our members' democratic decision to take industrial action.

"It is totally unacceptable, having gone through the correct legal procedures to call this action then to have the courts intervene to block it.

"The courts are now actively intervening in industrial relations disputes."

Mr Kelly said the decision highlights that trade unions are "burdened by unnecessarily tight and disproportionate" strike laws.

The case will go back to court on Friday, when employers at Foyle Foods Group will put forward their case.

Management at the plant claim Omagh Meats is the only one of the group's four sites in Northern Ireland to have refused the offer.