Workers at three Dale Farm plants vote for strike

Unite trade union says management at the dairy co-op has refused to address pay claim

One of the North’s largest dairy co-operatives could be facing industrial action, unions have warned, after 75 per cent of maintenance workers employed at three of Dale Farm’s plants voted in favour of strike action.

The Unite trade union said preparations are under way for industrial action because management at Dale Farm have refused to “address workers’ pay claim”.

According to the union, production workers at Dale Farm have been offered a wage increase but the co-op has not also extended this offer to maintenance workers.

Unite is now seeking a similar pay increase for maintenance staff at Dale Farm’s three plants in Cookstown, Ballymena and Cullybackey.


Liam Gallagher, from Unite, said unsuccessful negotiations had previously taken place on the issue and the union has offered to engage again either directly with the co-op or through the Labour Relations Agency.

“Unite members at three Dale Farm Ltd factories: Cookstown, Ballymena and Cullybackey have voted overwhelmingly to endorse industrial action in a ballot conducted after the collapse of pay negotiations.

‘Last resort’

“While Unite is genuine about the need to avoid strike action, which remains a last resort for the union, management should be under no illusions that, if we are left with no alternative, Unite will be robust in pursuit of our members’ demands,” Mr Gallagher said.

Earlier this year Belfast headquartered Dale Farm reported a record jump in group turnover to £481 million (€538 million) with pre-tax profits also increasing to £10.1 million, for the 12 months to the end of March.

The co-op is owned by 1,300 dairy farmers across Northern Ireland, England and Scotland.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

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