FSA warns over strike disruptions

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned of possible disruptions in abattoirs, as over 650 meat hygiene inspectors have been balloted 
about a public service strike planned on Wednesday (30 November) to protest against low pensions.

According to the FSA, plants might be unable to operate that day or only at reduced speed, while those operating part-time might be able 
to change their schedule within 
that week.

“Industry representatives have been briefed on our industrial 
action preparations. Further communications are planned to industry prior to the strike day and local managers are in discussion with plant operators with regards to the likely impact on their plant,” an FSA spokesperson said.

The agency is working with the industry to minimise potential disruption to production in meat plants. “Through the steps we are taking, we hope to ensure the meat industry will be able to process as many animals as possible, in full compliance with food safety and animal welfare legislation,” the spokesperson added. “Plant operators can also discuss possible alternatives for production with their local business manager, and deployment decisions will need to take account of animal welfare considerations.”

A spokesman for public service trade union Unison said there was no time limit on the strike and indicated that it could be “continuous”. The main concentration of the action is likely to be in the West Midlands, due to the larger number of plants there.

The FSA first published its 
pension deficit in its 2004/5 
accounts. In February 2011, the deficit stood at £103m.

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