Staff at Cookstown pork factory strike over wages

Workers protest outside the Karro Cookstown factory on Monday morning.
Workers protest outside the Karro Cookstown factory on Monday morning.

Engineering staff at Cookstown’s Karro Foods took strike action yesterday [August 4] in an ongoing dispute over “pay and conditions”.

Twelve maintenance engineers, all members of Unite union, held a picket outside the Molesworth Street factory in a call for wages that better “reflect the specialist skills they have and provide to the employer”.

Gareth Scott, Unite Regional Officer said: “This employer has, over a number of years, provided below inflationary increases resulting in the value of the employees’ wages falling in real terms.

“Following the employer’s refusal to improve their pay offer, our members feel they have been left with little alternative other than to take industrial action in pursuit of their pay claim.

“With wages having fallen well below inflation over the last five years,” he continued, “employers need to understand the need to provide improved pay offers now that we are starting to come out of recession.”

A spokesperson for Kallo Foods, released the following statement to the Mail: “Through positive discussions with one of our two partner unions, USDAW, we reached an amicable agreement earlier in the year on the terms of a pay award with the majority of our 790 employees based in Cookstown.

“We have made the same offer to the remaining employees, who as engineers are represented by the union Unite.

“As yet we have failed to reach agreement with Unite and continue to offer open dialogue with the union and the 14 employees that it represents in order to reach a settlement.

“The strike had no disruptive effect on our operation,” they added.