21 January 1999
Inspectors’ strike threatens to shut abattoirs

MEAT inspectors have voted to take industrial action over pay, raising the spectre of severe disruption to the industry.

About 1000 inspectors in England, Scotland and Wales are to be called out on a one-day stoppage before 2 February if the dispute is not resolved.

The trade union Unison said this would be followed by series of two-day and three-day strikes unless the Meat Hygiene Service increased pay.

The strike has been called in protest against an imposed pay rise of 3.65%. Unison demands a 5% rise.

Meat inspectors earn a basic wage of £13-14,000 and about 100 senior inspectors earn between £17-18,000.

The Unison vote polled 350 inspectors in favour of strike action, with 225 against, in secret ballot which saw a 57% turnout.

The MHS employs about 1550 meat inspectors in some 400 slaughterhouses.