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November 26, 2008 2:01 PM

Last week's decision by the meat industry to go on strike for three days in December could cause disruption to turkey supplies in the run up to Christmas according to Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA Tim Farron MP.

Inspectors have voted to strike, by a margin of two to one, in a dispute about overtime pay and changes to their working pattern. The Meat Hygiene Service have proposed changes to overtime and a new 37 hour week which inspectors argue would leave them about £100 out of pocket and include unsociable hours.

Unison representatives are set to meet with bosses from the Meat Hygiene Services this week to hammer out a deal after the British Meat Processors Association estimated the strike could cost the industry three million pounds.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The run up to Christmas is a hectic period for all members of the public and especially for farmers and all involved in the food industry. The last thing that the industry needs now is disruption to supplies before the Christmas period.

"It's important that both the Meat Hygiene Services and Union leaders put aside their differences and reach a fair deal for staff that will avoid any disruption to important Christmas trade.

"Both sides need to come together to work out a deal to ensure that shoppers and farmers aren't left standing in the cold this Christmas."