An industrial dispute between workers and management at three 2 Sisters sites in the run-up to Christmas looks to be settled.

About 500 employees at two poultry processing sites in West Bromwich, and one in Wolverhampton, walked out on 14 December.

The disputes were over a pay offer, an alleged “culture of bullying”, and a 2 Sisters proposal to change shift patterns to include weekend working. Unite described the original 20p/hour pay increase as “derisory” and said the five-in-seven day shifts proposal would “adversely affect employees’ work-life balance”.

But, following intense negotiations between the two sides, two further strikes were called off.

Des Quinn, Unite regional officer, said that, while a settlement had been reached, members would not be consulted until the new year, so the planned strike on 21 December had been cancelled.

Unite said that the key elements of the settlement package were an above-inflation pay offer, “significant” joint training with the company on dignity and respect at work, and a pilot scheme into seven-day shift patterns.

A spokesman for 2 Sisters said that the new pay deal would be backdated to 1 August 2012.

He added: “Agreement has been reached as result of the joint commitment by the company and Unite to work together to find solutions that gives employees fair pay and puts in place the necessary foundations to sustain jobs.”

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Workers walk out at 2 Sisters sites