FSA workers set to strike next week

FSA workers set to strike next week

Meat inspectors, official veterinarians and support staff employed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in England, Wales and Scotland are set to strike next week in a dispute over pay.

BMPA director, Stephen Rossides: “We need to consider the report carefully in order to identify how to respond to and implement its recommendations."

Rossides: “The proposed strike action by members of UNISON is not justified…”

Two four-hour walkouts are scheduled to take place, from 6:30am – 10:30am on Tuesday 26th August and again on Wednesday 27th August.

The biggest impact will be at abattoirs and some large cutting plants will also be affected.

Norman Bagley, director of AIMS told Meat Management: “Once again, UNISON is using industrial action to suggest our members and the rest of the GB meat industry are in the business of producing unsafe meat, whereas their real gripe is with FSA, their employers. We are totally committed to the safety of the product our members produce, and will continue to be, strike or not.”

BMPA director, Stephen Rossides added: “The proposed strike action by members of UNISON is not justified and merely adds to the administrative burdens faced by the meat industry. However, if the FSA works effectively with FBOs to allocate remaining resources effectively, we hope that the impact on most companies and on the continuity of meat supplies will not be too onerous.”

The NFMFT, representing retail butchers said it did not expect any great disruption to supplies from this initial two day action but would appreciate feedback from its members on any local/regional problems.


FSA is writing to advise all approved plants today and have also advised it will be approaching individual plants to explore ways to minimise the effects of strike action. A number of non-union staff are expected to work normally.

An FSA statement said: “The FSA is disappointed that Unison has decided to call industrial action next week, at a time when Unison has said it is committed to ongoing talks with us. We are continuing to hold discussions with Unison, but in the event that the planned strike action goes ahead, we would not expect there to be an effect on meat supplies to shops and supermarkets.”

The decision follows a ballot earlier this month, which saw UNISON’s FSA members overwhelmingly vote for strike action over an imposed pay offer of 0.75%.

UNISON said it has previously invited the FSA to resolve the pay dispute through independent conciliation. UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “Staff in slaughterhouses work in some of the most dirty, difficult and stressful conditions, surrounded by blood and faeces, to keep the public safe from contaminated meat.

“It is only fair that our members receive a pay increase that is at least in line with inflation. They should be recognised for the vital role they play in safeguarding the human food chain against harmful and repulsive dirt and diseases.

“It is not too late for the FSA to avoid the prospect of a strike that may well clear supermarket shelves and butchers’ shops of meat in the barbecue season.”

The union is seeking an above inflation pay increase.

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