Environment Agency staff back industrial action over pay

Workers at the Environment Agency are to take industrial action after a below-inflation pay rise was forced on staff earlier this year, UNISON said today (Thursday).

Staff overwhelmingly backed industrial action in their demand for a fairer offer than the 1.3% rise they were given back in January.  More than 85% of votes cast supported taking action, which includes stopping unpaid overtime and work travel during personal time.

Senior managers at the Agency have refused to make a better offer or hold further talks, despite repeated UNISON efforts. 

Staff are angered their pay falls short of increases given to other public sector workers. Those doing the same job at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, for example, have agreed a 3% rise for low-paid workers and 2% for higher earners.

Since 2010, Environment Agency workers are 20% worse off as their wages have failed to keep pace with prices, says UNISON.

UNISON national officer for the environment Andrew Dobbie said: 

“Workers have spoken very clearly to reject this offer. The Agency must reopen negotiations to give them what they deserve.

“These are staff whose vital work makes a difference to communities across England, protecting them from flooding and tackling pollution.

“They deserve to be treated like their colleagues in local government and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, who have been given proper increases.”

Further details of the action will be announced at a future date.