Deal accepted on department and vet standoff

A ballot on the recent deal between Veterinary Ireland (VI) members and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine resulted in strong support for the agreement between the two sides.

The ballot which took place last Friday (February 1) brings to an end the row that began between the parties last June and subsequently escalated over the Christmas period.

At the height of the dispute – relating to the employment status of Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs) – led to animals being turned away from factories due to industrial action taken by TVIs.

The situation caused major disruption to processing lines during December.

Conor Geraghty of Veterinary Ireland told AgriLand that members had accepted the deal that was on the table and the organisation was “happy” with the result.

We will be meeting with the department later this week to finalise matters.

“We are looking forward to the panels being reopened because they have been closed for a long time at this stage,” he said.

Meanwhile, the dispute between the parties arose in the first instance because VI acknowledged the “worrying shortage” of TVIs on meat factory panels.

The panels were closed by the department in 2012 and subsequently were never reopened.

VI wanted new TVIs to be recruited on the same terms that current inspectors are on.

‘Regrettable’

MII issued a statement welcoming the new agreement, while the Ibec group said it hoped to see an immediate restoration of cover so that normal processing activity could be undertaken.

“It is regrettable that so much disruption to a number of plants took place over the last month, which has given rise to significant costs and lost business for those operations,” a spokesperson for the group added.

The department and VI concluded an agreement relating to the dispute last month when a commitment was made by VI to ballot its members on the matter no later than February 1, 2019.

Veterinary Ireland subsequently recommended acceptance of the agreement to its members.

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