Usdaw says low pay and cuts to tax credits make it hard for their members to make ends meet

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Usdaw members employed by Primark in Northern Ireland are being balloted on possible strike action in protest at the company’s imposition of a pay freeze for the second year in succession.

The official ballot, which closes today, follows a consultative ballot held in December 2011 in which 95% of members voted in favour of holding a ballot for industrial action.

In 2010, Usdaw members very reluctantly agreed to accept a pay freeze following lengthy negotiations that involved the Labour Relations Agency (LRA). In this year’s pay round, Primark have again refused to offer staff any pay rise and talks again aided by the LRA have so far failed to secure any agreement.

Usdaw has approximately 641 members employed in Primark’s 8 stores in Northern Ireland, around 85% of the total number of staff. No decisions have yet been taken on the form or timing of any strike action to take place and Usdaw is still trying to resolve the dispute with the assistance of the LRA.

Usdaw area organiser Nicola Scarborough said: “Primark has a loyal and long-serving workforce in Northern Ireland and our members are dismayed and extremely angry at the company’s attempt to impose a pay freeze for the second year running.

“Most staff at Primark Northern Ireland currently earn just £6.84 an hour and soaring prices and government cuts to tax credits and other benefits mean they are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet.”


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