100 vet workers set to take part in UK-first strike at private practice

(Photo: Google Street View)
(Photo: Google Street View)

Nearly 100 workers employed by Valley Vets in South Wales are to take the first ever strike action at a private veterinary practice.

Unite the union said Valley Vets have offered its lowest paid staff a 'derisory pay rise' that takes them to slightly above the minimum wage.

Higher paid workers have been offered increases of between one and 1.5 per cent from April 2024, the union, which represents the workers, said.

The offer is a real terms pay cut as the RPI rate of inflation was 3.3 percent when deal was due to be implemented.

The workers, who undertake a range of roles including veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, receptionists and animal care assistants, will strike for two weeks from 16 July until 30 July.

Industrial action is likely to severely impact Valley Vets operations and could escalate if the dispute is not resolved.

Valley Vets is owned by VetPartners, which recorded gross profits of £553m in 2023 – an increase of nearly £120m from the year before.

As well as paying 'poverty wages', Unite the union has accused VetPartners of overcharging pet owners.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently conducting a sector-wide investigation into overcharging, including at VetPartners.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is disgusting that Valley Vets staff are getting into debt and using foodbanks to survive when profits are astronomical.

"This is just pure corporate greed from a company that is already being investigated for widespread profiteering.

“Unite is supporting our Valley Vets members 100 per cent as they strike for a fair pay rise and improvements to their terms and conditions.”