THREE THOUSAND Moy Park employees in Northern Ireland will vote whether to strike over proposed changes to terms and conditions.

It represents just shy of half the total workforce in the country who are members of union Unite.

The union said problems began when the company was sold by JBS to subsidiary Pilgrims Pride.

“From our first meetings with the incoming management team it was apparent that they were intent on attacking terms and conditions of workers in the region which remain among the best of any workforce in the UK agri-food industry,” Unite regional officer Sean McKeever said.

He explained that in recent pay negotiations the company had brought forward proposals “seeking to undermine Shift Allowances, Sickness scheme, Holiday entitlement, Attendance allowance, Nomi/Statutory days and decent breaks”.

And Mr McKeever pointed to profits posted by the integrator of £60m last year, adding that parent company Pilgrim’s Pride posted earnings of $798m in 2018.

“These are not businesses that are struggling for survival, the attacks on workers’ pay and conditions are simply part of a drive to maximise profits and increase returns for corporate shareholders,” he added.

“Unite is now preparing the roll-out of a ballot on all-out strike action of our more than three thousand members working for Moy Park in Northern Ireland.

“Management need to recognise the determination of this workforce before it leads to unnecessary and entirely avoidable disruption to their operations here”, he said.

A Moy Park spokesman said: “We are aware of the recent union statement and we will continue to engage with the union and work towards a negotiated agreement.”