Fórsa officials believe a resolution is possible in a dispute over management’s proposed compulsory transfer of local authority vets to the Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI) at the end of this month. But the union says it will continue to resist threats to go ahead with the move against the vets’ wishes.
At a meeting with representatives of council employers last month, the union called for independent arbitration to resolve what is essentially a dispute between local authorities and the FSAI.
The vets inspect some 600 small abattoirs, including craft butchers and artisan food producers, under a service-level agreement. But they have fallen victim to a row between the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and FSAI over the funding of the inspections.
Last spring, Fόrsa learned that the CCMA had told the FSAI to take over the employment of the vets. The union immediately sought the withdrawal of the proposal, and said any dispute over the move would involve all local authority staff.
The head of Fórsa’s Local Government Division, Peter Nolan, said, “It’s grossly unfair that our members have become the meat in the sandwich in a dispute between two public bodies. I think a solution is possible, but we are adamant that enforced transfers will not be accepted.”
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