A firm that employs thousands of local workers at its Dungannon and Craigavon bases has urged people to vote to stay in the EU.
Moy Park is one of the UK’s and Europe’s biggest agri-food companies and relies heavily on workers from across the EU, although it has refused to disclose exactly how many of its staff are from outside the British Isles.
The firm said it would be informing employees of its views. But a spokeswoman said it would also emphasise that how staff voted next week was a personal matter.
Talking about Moy Park’s pro-EU stance, its chief executive Janet McCollum said: “We are a European business and Europe is our market, so we are strongly in favour of the UK remaining within the EU.
“Remaining gives businesses greater certainty about the future. Within the EU, we have open access to 27 markets and 500 million consumers.
“In the event of a Brexit, no-one has been able to guarantee our continued access to those markets.
“Any move away from the free market in which we currently operate could increase tariffs, add administrative burdens and limit export opportunities.”
She cited uncertainties around market access, access to labour, cross-border trade and the potential impact on the farming community as reasons to stay.
“The EU has imperfections, but it is a massive market which offers export security and it is our view that the UK should remain within it,” Ms McCollum added.
Employing 12,000 people in Northern Ireland, England, France, Holland and the Republic, Moy Park is among the majority of businesses in the north which wants to stay in Europe. Other major supporters include Norbrook, Beanchor, the Henderson Group, Lisney, KP Snacks, Dunbia and the Lava Group, Some companies cited concerns but still opted to stay with the ‘devil they know’, while others choose to keep their views to themselves.