MOY PARK has said it will temporarily stop slaughtering birds at its Ballymena processing facility because of “challenging market conditions”.

The firm added it hoped to resume bird processing at the site in January 2020 – and that it would continue to cut, further process and pack poultry at Ballymena.

Moy Park’s North Antrim hatchery will also close until November this year, the firm said, adding it would work with farmers “to manage this temporary reduction in poultry requirement”.

Where possible the company hoped to transfer affected staff to other shifts or roles, a spokesman said. According to the Belfast Telegraph, around 1,700 people work at the site.

The statement in full says:

“Moy Park is proposing to temporarily cease processing live birds at Ballymena due to challenging market conditions, with the view that we will re-open the line in January 2020.

“In line with this, it is proposed the North Antrim Hatchery will temporarily cease hatching until November 2019. We will continue to cut, further process and pack at Ballymena, including retail production of our BBQ products.

“We are currently working with our colleagues and their representatives doing our utmost to minimise the impact of this proposal on our excellent workforce, including offering temporary transfers to other shifts and roles.

“We will also be working closely with our farming partners throughout the process to manage this temporary reduction in poultry requirement.”