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Friday, 19 November, 1999, 16:02 GMT
Christmas turkey strike vote
Workers want a slice of the 14% rise in company profits this year

Staff at the UK's best-known turkey producer are threatening strike action in the run-up to Christmas.

Workers at Bernard Matthews' factories in Norfolk and Suffolk in England, are being balloted on possible strike action.

The result of the ballot among members of the Transport & General Workers Union should be known next week.

Union anger

The union said staff were angry at the 2.3% pay increase they had been offered. They are demanding a 4.6% rise.

"The company has done very well this year," said a union spokesman.

"Profits are up by 14% and the shareholders have seen the dividends go up by 10%.

"The poultry workers have already rejected the company's pay offer of 2.3%. A revised offer of 2.6% over 18 months, which followed, was rejected as insufficient by the local union representatives," he added.

"We believe it is a fair claim based on the average rise in earnings and one the company can afford. It is really up to the company now to respond positively."

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