Northern Ireland

Allied Bakeries staff to strike over pay on Sunday

pancakes Image copyright ozgurkeser
Image caption Unite said strike action will coincide with the ramp-up production of pancakes

About 250 Northern Ireland bakery workers are set to strike on Sunday.

Talks between Allied Bakeries and the trade union Unite broke down on Friday.

Allied Bakeries is best known in Northern Ireland for brands like Kingsmill and Sunblest.

It is owned by Associated British Foods - an international company that owns a range of brands across different sectors, including Primark, and posted pre-tax profits of around £1.4bn last year.

But according to its latest accounts, Allied Bakeries was operating at a loss, which had been reduced because of cost-cutting measures.

The accounts also indicated lower reported sales.

'Pathetic offer'

Unite regional officer Sean McKeever said the company "did not appear to be serious when it came to addressing their workers' low pay and offered a pathetic, below-inflation offer, which the shop stewards rejected as unacceptable".

Image copyright YaroslavKryuchka
Image caption Talks between Allied Bakeries and the trade union Unite broke down on Friday

The union said strike action will coincide with the ramp-up of production of pancakes at the Castlereagh Road site.

Mr McKeever said: "Management bears full responsibility for what will be a hugely disruptive strike action [in] the fortnight before Pancake Tuesday."

He added that Unite is "open to engagement in advance of pickets going up".

In a statement, Allied Bakeries said they were proud of their reputation "as a long-term and stable employer in the community" and that they were disappointed about the industrial action.

"All those involved within this ballot are paid at rates above The Living Wage Foundation's recommended UK hourly rate and provided with a range of in-work benefits, including life insurance and pension provision," the statement read.

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