Meat workers to down tools in pay dispute
THE first strike in the pay dispute which threatens to disrupt meat production at abattoirs will be next week.
Unison, the public service workers union announced at the start of the week that meat hygiene inspectors would stop work for 24 hours from Tuesday (Feb 2).
Further strikes, each lasting up to 72 hours, could be announced once the union has studied the effect of the first stoppage.
Theoretically, the strikes could stop bring Britains 400 or so abattoirs to a standstill, because the inspectors are required by law to oversee the slaughter of animals for human consumption.
But the Meat and Hygiene Service (MHS), which employs the inspectors, hopes to minimise the effects of the walkout.
Nevertheless, the implications for the industry of strikes could be serious, admitted Johnston McNeill, MHS chief executive.