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Vets to vote on agreement to end work to rule in factories

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A deal has been reached that is expected to end the work to rule by vets in meat factories, after weeks of disruption.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Veterinary Ireland have concluded an agreement relating to current issues of dispute between them and the provision of new arrangements for the delivery of the meat inspection service.

The proposed agreement will be balloted upon by Veterinary Ireland over the course of the next three weeks, to conclude no later than 1 February 2019.

Veterinary Ireland is to recommend acceptance of the agreement to their members.

In the interim, meat inspections will continue in accordance with current operational arrangements.

Farm organisations and meat processors had called for a resumption of talks to end a 'work-to-rule' protest by temporary veterinary inspectors (TVIs) which is seriously disrupting operations at slaughter plants.

Meat Industry Ireland said it welcomed the conclusion of an agreement between DAFM and Veterinary Ireland on the TVI dispute and hopes that it will see an immediate restoration of cover so that normal processing activity can 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 said.

The vets voted for work to rule last May when the Department of Agriculture attempted to change their employment conditions from normal employee status (paying tax and welfare contributions on their work) to casual employee status.

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