ONE thousand workers at the Moy Park plant in Portadown have walked out amid claims that company profits are being "put before safety" of staff.
Proposals by the Unite union to secure health and safety protections were rejected by bosses, leading to what was described as a "spontaneous walk out" by workers.
It was claimed by a senior union figure that the company "dismissed" proposals by Unite to ensure "two metre social distancing between workers".
Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer confirmed there had been a mass walkout of workers at Moy Park at Seagoe, Portadown: "Up to 1,000 workers have walked out of the Seagoe Moy Park site in Portadown. This follows the failure of the biggest employer in Northern Ireland to provide basic health and safety protections to its workforce.
“Unite attempted to secure commitments to ensure a minimum two metre social distancing between workers and other measures to enable infection control in the face of the Coronavirus threat but our proposals were dismissed by management.
“Workers are refusing to return to work in unsafe conditions. This is an entirely foreseeable outcome of both management greed and total inaction from Stormont.
"We need to see immediate movement from management to address the workers’ legitimate fears over Coronavirus transmission - there cannot be any two-tier approach to health and safety in workplaces. Food production workers will not be treated as second-class."