Tayto have responded to threats from trade union Unite over balloting for strike action among the company’s workforce.
Unite announced that they will proceed to ballot members for an increase in pay.
However, the Tayto Group called that action “premature”.
A spokesperson for the Manderley Food Group/Tayto Group said: “Tayto always have respected and always will respect the laws of the land.
“We will comply fully with all legal requirements in respect of the new National Living Wage and are following the government, LRA and ACAS guidelines in so doing. From 1 April 2016, all colleagues entitled to receive the National Living Wage will receive it.
“We seek to treat all colleagues equally regardless of their location, while still being mindful of their historic and current terms and conditions.
“On the above basis, any call for a ballot for strike action seems premature as we agreed today to meet with the Union again prior to 1 April 2016 and discuss how this would be implemented in practice.”
Sean McKeever, Unite officer for production and packaging workers at the county Armagh firm said: “Manderley Food Group is behaving with complete disrespect to their Tayto workforce.
“Management are attempting to avoid raising basic pay to the new National Living Wage rate by counting a weekly bonus payment made entirely separate to the basic wage.
“This represents a fundamental break with their longstanding approach, which was to peg the wage at five pence above the current legal minimum.
“This is a company that can well afford to raise [to the] National Living Wage,” added Mr McKeever.
“Unite will be balloting our members for strike action in the face of this insult. It is likely that any strike action will cause significant disruption to the production of Tayto crisps but also own-brand products for the multiples.
“We are asking management to adopt a more enlightened approach to their Northern Ireland workers, who have the right to demand equal treatment to workers from other parts of the United Kingdom.”