Meat hygiene inspectors, veterinarians and support staff employed by the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) have voted in favor of strike action over a long-running pay dispute. Should action go ahead, more than 130 slaughterhouses in England, Wales and Scotland will be affected.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, one of the U.K.’s largest unions, commented: “Meat inspectors and vets are a vital link in the food safety chain, protecting the public by keeping contaminated meat off our plates.


“The strike may well clear supermarket shelves and butchers’ shops of meat and threaten summer barbecues. It is down to the FSA to come up with a fair offer instead of digging in their heels and refusing to negotiate. Working in slaughterhouses is an extremely messy and stressful job and our members will not accept another cut in the value of their wages.”

UNISON is calling for an above inflation pay increase that would begin to make up some of the 15 percent that has been lost from the pay packets of FSA staff under the current government. The union further notes that, over the past two years, it has stopped 3 million chickens contaminated with feces and 5.5 million chicken with ascites from entering the food chain.