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Talks breakthrough over Christmas Day working for poultry workers

PUBLISHED: 12:13 01 February 2019

A Seven Suffolk poultry catchers ballot on possible strike action has been suspended  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Seven Suffolk poultry catchers ballot on possible strike action has been suspended Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A union representing seven Suffolk poultry catchers who were being balloted about possible strike action over Christmas working is celebrating a breakthrough in talks with their employer.

Unite the union claimed a “significant victory” after plans to make them work on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day were set aside as talks with Hook 2 Sisters at Eye continue.

Unite regional officer Steve Harley said: “We have been in constant dialogue with the management and delighted with the progress made so far, which means that our members will now not be working on Christmas day, Boxing day and new year’s day.

MORE - Suffolk poultry catchers vote on strike action

“Our members had been balloted for strike action, but this has now been suspended while talks continue with the company. Our members are working normally.

“The employer has also agreed to suspend the notice period for the changes to the poultry catchers’ contracts, thus ending the threat to dismiss them from their current contracts.

“There are a number of less controversial concerns within the proposed contract that are still outstanding, but I believe that with an open, flexible and sensible approach we should finally reach an agreement which is acceptable to all sides.”

The poultry catchers go to farms in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk to ‘capture’ the chickens being reared in sheds and put them in crates so they can be taken to factories for slaughter.

Hook’s said: “We promised to keep an open dialogue with the seven workers and we are pleased that constructive talks are continuing.”

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