STAFF at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are being balloted for strike action that could affect poultrymeat supplies during the festive season.
The dispute involving several hundred inspectors, vets, and office-based staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could bring the industry to a halt, according to the union Unison.
Earlier in the year, FSA staff voted to reject a pay offer of between 2% and 5%.
Unison argues that this is significantly lower than inflation – and falls short of the 10% pay claim put forward by the union.
The ballot of members will end on 31 October, and if strike action is favoured, there could be disruption to poultrymeat supply chains in the run-up to Christmas.
Unison’s head of local government, Mike Short, said: “FSA staff play a vital role in keeping contaminated meat off people’s plates.
“But many have to work in a difficult and unpleasant conditions inspecting carcasses for signs of disease.
“These employees protect consumers, ensure good animal welfare, and must be rewarded accordingly.
“The FSA needs to come up with a significantly higher offer to avoid any disruption.”