Prospect says members at Intellectual Property Office have been treated worse than other public sector workers by “shambolic and fundamentally unfair” pay structure

Tim Lezard

ProspectWorkers at the government’s patents office are expected to sign pledges this week to join industrial action over pay.

Patent examiners are due to mount a half-day strike on Friday (February 8), followed by a work-to-rule for the rest of the month.

Reps are asking staff to sign up for the industrial action over the next 4 days.

Prospect says members at the Intellectual Property Office [IPO] have been treated worse than other public sector workers by a “shambolic and fundamentally unfair” pay structure.

Prospect negotiator Helen Stevens said: “Members at the IPO have been treated worse than other public sector workers.

“Austerity for them has meant not only a pay freeze, but a freeze to their contractual progression to the rate for the job has also been imposed.

“This has cost them large sums of money and left a pay system that is fundamentally unfair and frankly shambolic.

“Our members at the IPO are highly skilled and work hard to support British business. Any hope of economic recovery depends on people like them.

“If they were in the private sector they would be in receipt of bonuses.”

Officials say the government’s pay policies have created a discriminatory pay structure at the IPO. The union says it has formally taken up a number of equal pay cases.

IPO branch secretary Eleanor Wade said: “Central government pay restrictions are stopping the IPO from using its own resources to make a fair pay offer to staff, putting vital support for innovation at risk.

Prospect members at the IPO are committed to fighting for fair pay.”

The IPO is one of a number of Trading Fund agencies, such as the Royal Mint, Ordnance Survey and HM Land Registry.

Despite reporting surpluses of £8.5m in 2010-2011 and £10.8m in 2011/2012, it is not allowed to use these profits to pay staff.

Prospect says 88% of members voted in favour of strike action, on a 65% turnout.

Says Helen Stevens: “Many patent examiners are working extra hours because of problems recruiting to these posts.

‘This level of personal sacrifice is too much.

“The result of this ballot shows members determination to protest at such unfairness.”

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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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