NFU Scotland has expressed its relief that Unison has called off a planned
five-day strike by up to 1000 meat inspectors across the UK. NFUS believed
the strike could cause serious damage to the meat industry, farmers and consumers.
NFUS has also thanked Scottish Ministers for reflecting industry concerns
in their approaches to the Unions.
At the same time, NFUS has highlighted that contingency planning is essential
if the red meat industry is to avoid serious disruption in future.
NFUS President John Kinnaird said:
"I am pleased Unison has called off the planned Meat Hygiene Service
strike after a number of days of frantic discussions. I believe they have
made absolutely the right move.
"As I said last week as this was unfolding, I have no problem with
Unison fighting its members' corner, but I had real concerns that they were
going to damage businesses, in some cases permanently, that had no involvement
in the dispute nor any ability to influence Unison's case.
"I had a number of conversations with Rural Development Minister Ross
Finnie last week and his representation of our concerns to Unison was extremely
important. Likewise, the statements from the First Minister were also very
"There is one lesson from this that must be learnt. We can't afford
for the Scottish red meat industry to be shutdown because there is a temporary
absence of official inspectors. We need a contingency plan in place to ensure
we don't see job losses in the processing sector, animal welfare problems
on farm and empty supermarket shelves because a handful of inspectors go
on strike. There are suitably qualified individuals like vets that can do
the same job in exceptional circumstances and that option must be explored
for the future."
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