Meat hygiene inspectors, vets and support staff employed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, over a long running pay dispute. The action by UNISON members will affect more than 130 slaughterhouses in England, Wales and Scotland, hitting meat supplies to butchers and supermarkets.
63% voted in favour of the action, over the FSA’s decision to impose a 0.75% pay offer.
Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said:
“Meat inspectors and vets are a vital link in the food safety chain, protecting the public by keeping contaminated meat off our plates.
“The strike may well clear supermarket shelves and butchers’ shops of meat and threaten summer barbeques. It is down to the FSA to come up with a fair offer instead of digging in their heels and refusing to negotiate.
“Working in slaughterhouses is an extremely messy and stressful job and our members will not accept another cut in the value of their wages. Imposing a pay offer is inflammatory and the result of our strike ballot makes it clear that FSA staff have had enough.”
UNISON is calling for an above inflation pay increase that would begin to make up some of the 15% that has been lost from the pay packets of FSA staff under the Coalition Government.
Notes to Editors
In the past two years, UNISON members in the FSA stopped the following entering the human food chain:
* 560,000 cases of milk spot caused by parasitic larvae in pigs
* 3m chickens contaminated with faeces
* 2m instances of tapeworm in red meat
* 3m animals with pneumonia
* 450,000 animals with abscesses
* 28,000 animals with tuberculosis
* 5.5m chickens with ascites – a build-up of fluid caused by heart or liver diseases
* 1.8m cases of peritonitis
* 4m cases of septicaemia