Moy Park Randalstown workers paid 'chicken feed' wages

Unite exposes how poverty pay at Randalstown leaves workers borrowing to ‘make ends meet’

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As Moy Park profits touch £90 million Unite exposes how poverty pay at Randalstown has left workers borrowing to ‘make ends meet’.

A Unite survey of striking Moy Park workers has revealed that eight in ten are suffering a declining standard of living; seven in ten had trouble making ends meet in the last year; and six in ten had to borrow money to get by.

Drivers at the plant regularly work well in excess of 70 hours a week to make a living as the rates of pay at the site are more than £5,000 a year less than drivers receive at other Moy Park sites for the same work.

The latest figures for 2021 show Moy Park has reported profits of £86 million, while its owner Pilgrim’s Pride banked among its highest ever margins at £478 million. So there’s cash a plenty to pay the same rate across the company.

Unite reveals the shocking statistics as workers at Randalstown stand on pickets for a second week at the Moy Park owned chicken feed mill.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham called out Moy Park’s corporate greed.

“Welcome to rip-off Randalstown where you get £5000 a year less for doing the same job on another Moy Park site,” she said. “Yet another big business is paying ‘chicken feed’ wages, ripping off its Randalstown workers as bumper profits roll in.

“This is a strike for a fair wage. It’s a strike against corporate greed at the top but pennies for Randalstown workers at the bottom of the pile. It will continue, with the full support of Unite, until Moy Park pays a fair wage across the company.”

Moy Park is one of Northern Ireland’s most successful companies and is a key supplier of chicken feed for the UK market. In 2020, despite the pandemic lockdown, the company posted a profit of £86 million – up by 15 percent.

Unite regional officer, Sean McKeever, challenged Moy Park over treating its workers so poorly.

“This survey confirmed the prevalence of in-work poverty among the Randalstown workers,” he said. “These workers are struggling to get by despite working more than 60 and in some cases more than 70 hours a week.

“Moy Park management should be ashamed of this situation but instead of paying the rate, they are trying to starve these workers back to work and break their union. Moy Park is seriously underestimating the spirit of this workforce and the determination of Unite the union. These workers want a wage they can live on and they are determined to win it.”

By Donal O’Cofaigh

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