The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has given an upbeat assessment of this week’s meat inspectors’ strike which UNISON, the union behind the two-day action, said was a “shot across the bows”.
“Around a quarter of FSA operational staff were involved in the two days of industrial action by UNISON,” said FSA, adding that across GB, nine plants did not work on Tuesday morning and five plants didn’t work during the Wednesday 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 opportunity to make up their production.”
The FSA concluded that it was “disappointed the industrial action went ahead this week, at a time when UNISON said it was still committed to talks”. Discussions, they added, are “on-going”.
UNISON’s version of the Tuesday/Wednesday action was that “most of our members employed by FSA across the country took part in the strike”.
The union’s general secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “It was a shot across the bows that clearly shows the strength of feeling amongst slaughterhouse workers, who are saying they are not prepared to accept an insulting pay offer of just 0.75%.
“We are urging the FSA to get into talks to end this dispute with a pay offer that reflects the importance of the work our members do in maintaining public health.”