Dale Farm disputes union claim it refused to enter pay negotiations

Unite claims 75% of maintenance workers at three Dale Farm plants have voted to strike

Management at Dale Farm, a Northern Irish dairy co-op owned by 1,300 farmers, has hit back at claims that it has refused to enter into union negotiations over a pay dispute that could escalate into strike action.

Unite claims 75 per cent of maintenance workers employed at three of Dale Farm’s plants in the North have voted in favour of strike action because of a pay row.

The union claims maintenance workers are unhappy because they have not been offered the same wage increase as production workers and that negotiations to resolve the issue had “collapsed”. But a spokeswoman for Dale Farm has refuted the claims.

“These employees were offered an above-average pay increase in April 2018. We have been in liaison with Unite and have not at any stage refused to discuss queries around pay increases or the concerns of the employees involved. We continue to work with Unite to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”


She said the number of employees “represented by Unite at Dale Farm is approximately 1.5 per cent of our total workforce”.

It said the co-op valued its “relationship with all unions” represented within the organisation.

Dale Farm is one of Northern Ireland’s most successful co-ops. Last year it reported a record jump in group turnover to £481 million with pre-tax profits also increasing to £10.1 million, for the 12 months ending March 2018.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business