Bread strike: Hovis says workers have rejected two fresh pay offers

Hovis has reported that striking workers at its Belfast factory have today rejected two news pay offers.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:49 pm
A News Letter reader in Loughbrickland sent in this photo of the bread shelves in her local shop today, which she said was 'unusually bare'.

Workers walked out on Friday morning, claiming that although the Hovis Belfast site is more profitable that its other eights plants in GB, workers there are paid 10% than colleagues across the water.

Shoppers from across Northern Ireland have told the News Letter that they are seeing noticeable bread shortages in their local shops and in supermarket chains.

Unite the Union claims the factory supplies 50% of all NI’s bread - much of it under supermarket chain branding - but the company says it is only 35%.

A spokesperson for Hovis said this afternoon: “Today, we met with the unions and presented two proposed offers. Neither have been accepted at this stage. Discussions will continue tomorrow.

“We continue to be committed to finding a resolution that is acceptable to both sides and to reaching a conclusion to this action as soon as possible.

“It is incorrect to state that colleagues in Northern Ireland earn 10% less than those in GB because the unions are not comparing like-for-like roles. Roles and salaries vary across all our bakeries and pay is determined by a range of factors including differences in site working practices.”

The News Letter has asked what today’s pay offers were. Unite the Union has been invited to comment.

One shopper told the News Letter the shelves in their local shop in Loughbrickland were unusually bare this morning (see photo).

“It’s usually well stocked,” she said. “I asked at the till and was told that Hovis deliveries were sporadic and she was hoping for one later today, but they’ve been relying on other brands more.”

Another shopper in Dromore, Co Down found a similar situation in her local shop. “I wondered why there was so few loaves,” she said.

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