Bernard Matthews strike off

A legal challenge to a strike planned for this Thursday means the union Unite has called off industrial action

Around 1,300 workers at Bernard Matthews have called off a strike planned for this Thursday after a legal challenge.

A pay dispute prompted the action, with the union Unite claiming that a 2% pay rise offer was in effect, a pay cut, as inflation stands at 3.9%.

But administrative error on the part of Unite, linked to the ballot, means the industrial action cannot go ahead. It is likely the error is minor, possibly involving misspelled names on the ballot.

A spokesperson for Unite said the union is due to meet with Bernard Matthews representatives this Wednesday to discuss the dispute. "Members are determined we pursue their pay claim," said the spokesperson.

The company issued a statement: "Bernard Matthews can confirm that it was intending to seek an injunction to stop industrial action by Unite. Once the terms of the company's application were made known to Unite, it decided not to contest this application.

"Unite recognised that its ballot was invalid and it had no grounds to call lawful strike action. Unite agreed to call off the strike arranged for this week. It gave a further undertaking to the court that no further strike action would be called based on the outcome of the invalid ballot.

"Bernard Matthews wishes to reiterate here that regardless of recent events, the company's management will continue their open and positive engagement with employee representatives. It is hoped that this constructive approach will secure future success of the business and help employees achieve their aspirations."

Last week a spokesperson for Bernard Matthews said of the planned strike: "The union's strategy of fighting for a pay award when there are no additional finances to fund one appears to be at odds with its desire to work in the interest of our employees' future."

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