- 2019 Local Government Service Group Conference
- 22 February 2019
Conference notes that our members’ employed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have not had a decent pay rise since the coalition and the Conservative governments took office. Civil servants are under extreme pressure due to Brexit but are told there is no money for them.
Conference also notes that government cuts and austerity have decimated the functions of environmental health services covering food safety. UNISON’s 2019 report into the cuts to environmental health revealed that there had been a 52.92% reduction per head of population in the budget for environmental health between 2009 and 2018 in England and Wales alone. During the same period, there was a 17.58% reduction in food safety inspections. Currently, poultry meat inspection and our members who work as poultry meat inspectors are under threat from being removed from the new inspection regime post-Brexit.
Conference further notes that the FSA’s Regulating Our Future proposals are nothing more than an attempt to shift responsibility on the private sector to devalue the role of regulation in the human food chain. UNISON’s recent survey of environmental health members in November 2018 asked them whether they agreed with Regulating Our Future. Only 3% of professional environmental health officers agreed.
Conference calls upon the service group executive to continue to defend our members’ terms and conditions, negotiated with the FSA as an independent regulatory function by:-
1)Continuing to robustly negotiate for higher wages for our members through collective bargaining at the FSA;
2) Opposing privatisation and deregulation of meat hygiene inspection;
3) Opposing Regulating Our Future and support our members working as environmental health and trading standards officers by initiating joint campaigns to protect the role of meat hygiene inspectors and environmental health officers as well as defending their terms and conditions;
4) Educating the public on the part of ‘farm to fork’ regulation by launching a campaign calling on the FSA and government to recognise the role of all local government and civil service employees in protecting the public from unsafe and diseased meat, as well as safeguarding animal welfare;
5) Enabling the production of a joint magazine-type newsletter aimed at members working in the Food Standards Agency and local government in England and Cymru/Wales.