Abattoir vets threaten strike action

Trade union Unison has announced that vets working for one of the biggest suppliers of vets to the Meat Hygiene Service are balloting for strike action in a dispute over union recognition.

Vets at Grants Veterinary Services, who work in abattoirs across the UK, are threatening to walk out unless their employers recognise Unison and put a stop to alleged "plans to cut pay, terms and conditions, as well as impose a new contract".

Unison regional organiser Chris Jenkinson, said: “The vets in abattoirs make sure animals are treated humanely, and that the famous English roast is safe to eat. But they are threatening to hang up their aprons unless their employers recognise Unison, and put a stop to plans to cut pay, terms and conditions, and impose a new employment contract onto the vets.

“Unless Grants agree to give their staff a voice, they are running the risk of strikes hitting meat plants in the run-up to Christmas. We are urging them to reconsider their plans, and get around the negotiating table. More than 70% of their vet staff are Unison members and they have a right to be represented.”

The union is also urging MPs to sign up to an early day motion supporting the vets, tabled on 29 October.

A statement from Grants said: "We are very disappointed with Unison’s approach and we do not believe that a strike over union recognition is in the best interest of our employees whom they say they represent.

"We have never planned to cut pay but have looked to achieve greater harmonisation having brought together eight different companies in the last year.  We have been consulting with our staff and we have an active Staff Council.  We have also had talks with Unison in recent weeks but the union has demanded sole negotiation rights so that only they can represent staff.  We feel that is totally unreasonable and not fair to those staff members who aren’t in Unison."

Grants added that it hoped that further negotiations with Unison will bring about a settlement and would avert any strike action.




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