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    New MHS Strike Could Cause Massive Disruption
29/03/06

NFU Scotland is warning that a potential strike next week by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS), as part of the local authority pension dispute, could cause enormous disruption and damage to the Scottish livestock industry.

NFU Scotland understands MHS is considering industrial action throughout next week and that it may be the only public sector body on strike. This follows the one-day walk out of staff today (Tuesday 28 March), which caused disruption in meat plants across Scotland.

John Kinnaird, NFU Scotland President, said:

"We cannot underestimate how much disruption this industrial action could cause to the Scottish meat industry. The knock-on effects will be hugely damaging. We have already seen Hall's at Broxburn, the only pig processing facility left in Scotland, stating that is could go bust if this action goes ahead. That would be a disaster for the 1000 people employed by the company and for the whole Scottish pigs industry which would lose its only Scottish outlet.

"Other plants will be unable to operate in the absence of meat inspectors, yet will still face daily running costs that could lead to them being unable to re-open again at the end of the industrial action and the permanent loss of processing capacity within Scotland

"Consumers could also face a shortage of supply of quality Scottish meat. Contracts could be sourced elsewhere, displacing quality Scotch product with imports.

"Animal welfare could also be an issue for farmers on the ground. If pig farmers, for example, are unable to send stock to abattoirs, they will be forced to keep them on farm, leading to potential overcrowding.

"I have already raised this with the Executive. Agriculture cannot afford to become the pawn in a dispute between public sector workers and government. This issue must be resolved immediately otherwise we risk losing jobs and capacity in the UK's largest manufacturing industry."

link Relief As Meat Strike Is Called Off
link NFUS Warns Of Possible Meat Hygiene Service Strike
link Fair Trade comes to Aberfeldy
link Political Action Crucial To Protect Local Food Industry

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