Prospect members take action over pay

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Public (PSI), UK unions,

Met OfficeMet Office staff are today on strike for the first time in forty years over an ongoing pay freeze.

Prospect members believe the Met Office needs the flexibility to pay fair market rates to retain and recruit the skilled staff needed to maintain a world-leading weather and climate forecasting service.

The escalating campaign of action began last Thursday, with a withdrawal of “goodwill” and additional support. Today’s action started at 2pm, with hundreds of Prospect members in the main Met Office building in Exeter walking out to set up picket lines for a three-hour strike. Colleagues in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and other frontline stations walked out at the same time.

However, services with implications for national security and safety of life will be maintained throughout.

Lead Prospect rep Gordon Hutchinson said: “This is unprecedented, no one can remember the last time people went on strike here over pay – it must be decades ago.

“It shows how strongly people feel about a government pay policy completely at odds with what the prime minister advocates for the private sector.

“David Cameron says successful businesses should give their staff a pay rise, but won’t allow the Met Office freedom to manage its own reward system.”

Prospect negotiator Helen Stevens said: “It’s sad to see such a magnificent organisation held back by political ideology.

“First and foremost our members want the Met Office and its world class science to thrive. It can’t do that if it can’t recruit and retain the right people.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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