Unite the Union has confirmed that Balcas workers "have been left with no alternative" but to proceed with planned strike action from Tuesday at 6am to Thursday at 6am.

In a statement spokesman Gareth Scott said: “For far too long Fermanagh workers, like so many others across rural parts of Northern Ireland, have suffered from low pay and poor health and safety. Unite is determined to rectify that situation.

"Balcas employees, whether in lumbering, haulage or production, work exceptionally hard in what can be a difficult and potentially dangerous job. That level of commitment is simply not reflected in the wages they receive.

“Unite shop stewards brought forward a pay claim seeking a substantial uplift to their pay packets," he said.

He claim the management response "has been completely inadequate and failed to recognise the strong financial position that Balcas Timber has at present".

“In the ballot for industrial action, 92 percent of workers voted for strike action on a turnout of more than 76 percent. Since the ballot, many more workers have joined our union and our density among the workforce is now very high indeed. Unite will fully back these workers in their legitimate campaign for pay decency with the power of our 1.4 million strong membership and our £38 million strike fund. The workforce in Balcas has received strong support from the local Enniskillen Unite branch and the Fermanagh Council of Trades Unions – these workers do not stand alone.

“Even at this late stage we urge management to see sense and make a decent pay offer to avoid this unnecessary strike action and the consequent disruption to operations it will cause. The workers at Balcas deserve better and Unite will stand by them every step of the way to ensure they secure just that," Mr. Scott said.