Campaign urged against meat inspection deregulation

Debate also hears calls for work to improve pay, terms and conditions for members

UNISON’s local government conference called on the service group executive to oppose privatisation and deregulation in meat inspection, when they discussed conditions in the sector this afternoon in Brighton.

National convenor Graham Cross introduced a motion on pay, terms and conditions at the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland, where members and contractors working for these bodies continue to face bullying, harassment and attacks in the workplace, and work with the additional threat of being deregulated out of employment.

Having started in 1998, Mr Cross told conference that he had been told that proper, independent inspections would be gone within a few years.

But nearly two decades on, said that inspectors were still there – and it was because of the union.

The job was, he said, “a tough environment with lots of abuse”.

And he highlighted how the meat industry wants to speed processes up in order to increase profits. But doing that would mean reducing inspections.

And if further deregulation happens, the only people who will suffer are consumers.

“We don’t just need your continued support – our jobs depend on it,” said Mr Cross.

The executive was also urged to:

  • oppose animal abuses;
  • continue to increase the union’s campaigning presence in the European Union to maintain and improve the terms and conditions of members;
  • opposing performance-related pay;
  • educating the public and policy makers.