NERC pay strike well supported


First pay strike for NERC scientists in 30 years wins wide support

Scientists and researchers at the Natural Environment Research Council sites across the UK downed tools today and walked out from their research facilities at 12.30pm in their first and well supported pay strike for more than 30 years.

Prospect members were joined by PCS colleagues at 17 sites in Edinburgh, Belfast, East Kilbride, Nottingham, Lancaster, Bangor, Oxford, Cambridge, Southampton, Liverpool, Swindon and Plymouth.

The action was to demonstrate the strength of feeling over pay levels that have fallen behind comparators and the council’s bid to remove pay progression – without consultation or compensation – and introduce performance-related pay.

Non-members joined their colleagues during their lunch hours to offer their support. Staff at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh were joined by MSP Alison Johnston and Midlothian councillors Ian Baxter and Russell Imrie, while Ian Murray MP (Edinburgh South) sent messages of support.

In an interview with the Guardian, Prospect branch chair Helen Snaith said many government scientists now feel they can no longer afford to keep doing their jobs, and that the situation will only get worse if NERC presses ahead with its pay restrictions and revised contracts.

See I'm striking for the first time because government scientists are so poorly paid.

Prospect has warned that the changes will exacerbate existing recruitment and retention problems and further demotivate staff at a time when NERC is looking to privatise at least two of its organisations – the National Oceanography Centre and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.