Week-long strike action underway at Newtownards milk factory

Week-long strike action underway at Newtownards milk factory

Strike action which is to last seven days is underway at a Newtownards factory, with production at the site set to be brought to a standstill.

Members of Unite the union working at LE Pritchitt & Co Ltd began a week of strike action on Wednesday 21st February.

The wholly-owned subsidiary of Lakeland Dairies, LE Pritchitt & Co Ltd process long-life milk products such as UHT milk and the strike action has brought production at the factory to a standstill.

The Newtownards plant is the main producer of premium formulated milk products for the wider Lakeland Dairies group, which is one of Ireland’s largest and most successful dairy processing co-ops.

Union members rejected an 8.2% pay offer, seeking 9%, and negotiations ended without agreement after managers failed to provide an increase which maintained a £1 an hour pay differential with the minimum wage for fully trained production operators.


Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said it was “completely unacceptable” that the forthcoming minimum wage increase would surpass all existing pay grades.

“Lakeland Dairies is a hugely successful business which has recorded record profits,” said Sharon Graham.

“That success is built on the commitment and skills of their production workers. The workforce has the full support of Unite in their fight for a cost-of-living pay increase that reflects their skills and responsibilities.”

Unite regional officer, Albert Hewitt added: “Our members are determined that the training and responsibility that is required to operate multi-million pound equipment is properly reflected in their pay.

“Strike action by Unite’s members will bring production at Newtownards to a standstill. The cost of any disruption will far outweigh the costs of meeting our members’ pay claim. It is in the interests of the members of this co-op to intervene to demand a resolution to this dispute.”