FSA inspectors take second strike action

The second day of Unison strikes went ahead yesterday (27 August) as Food Standards Agency (FSA) meat inspectors walked out over pay.

Unison, which represents more than 500 meat inspectors, official veterinarians and support staff employed by the FSA, reported that between 6:30am and 10:30am yesterday workers walked out and “downed tools”. Unison’s FSA members voted for the action after an imposed pay offer of 0.75%. Unison said it was seeking “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”.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This week’s strike action has been very well supported by our members in slaughterhouses, who are angry that a quarter of their cost of living increase has been pick-pocketed by the FSA.

“Our members working for the FSA are vitally important to both the meat industry and to the consumers who they protect and this must be reflected in their pay packets.

“If the FSA wants to avoid further strikes, it must recognise the strength of feeling among its staff and work with us to negotiate a fair pay settlement.”

However, a spokesperson for the FSA said it was “disappointed” Unison chose to go ahead with the strikes, but the action had had minimal impact on operations: “Around a quarter of FSA operational staff were involved in the two days of industrial action by Unison. Across Great Britain, nine plants did not work on Tuesday morning and five plants on Wednesday, as a result of this action. More than 70% of plants operated as normal on both days. The remainder have been either operating different hours, on other days, are not ordinarily requiring FSA-employed inspectors, or took the decision not to operate. In terms of throughput, we expect most plant operators will not be affected, or will have the opportunity to make up their production.

“The FSA is disappointed the industrial action went ahead this week, at a time when Unison said it was still committed to talks with us. Discussions are ongoing.”

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