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Date: 30 Mar 2006

Prescott provocation ensures meat inspector strike

In response to the statement by First Minister Jack McConnell, UNISON today pointed out that the strike of Meat Inspectors would go ahead as the Westminster government had escalated the action by taking the next step to abolish the Rule of 85.

Joe di Paola, Scottish Organiser (Bargaining) said, "The strike of the UK meat inspectors goes ahead entirely due to the provocative action of Mr McConnell's Westminster colleague the Deputy Prime Minister, who laid an order in Parliament today to cut pension rights for LGPS members outwith Scottish schemes - including striking Scottish Meat Inspectors. "The trade unions put proposals to him both yesterday and today that would have formed the basis of a solution, these have clearly been rejected by the DPM.

"Meat Inspectors work for a UK Central Agency, and are very clear examples of the unfairness of the current proposals which the First Minister has repeated today. We have MIs on Civil service schemes who have their retirement at 60 protected, working in the same job as members of the LGPS who are having their early retirement withdrawn."

"I'm afraid this is not within the gift of UNISON, the First Minister or Tom McCabe to deliver. Meat Inspectors are members of a Superannuation scheme regulated by Westminster. UNISON members make up 98% of the workforce and the strike will be solid.

"We have agreed a process whereby the Hall's of Broxburn plant - which has been widely reported as under threat - can continue to operate during the strike at a reduced capacity by concentrating exempted MIs from other plants. This should relieve any closure threat.

"Mr McConnell has to realise that the solution to this dispute lies in the hands of him and his colleague. To offer talks whilst maintaining and defending the plan to scrap the rule of 85 is not a 'reasonable proposal'.

"We welcome talks, but until there is something concrete on the table, the action will continue."


For Further Information Please Contact: Joe Di Paola (Scottish organiser - Bargaining) 0845 355 0845(w) 07958 121 861(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)




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