Environment Agency staff work across a variety of areas including investigating polluting companies, regulating nuclear power stations and, most visibly, protecting communities against coastal and inland flooding.
Environment Agency staff have suffered an average real terms loss of around 15% in pay over since 2010 as a result of nearly a decade of severe wage restraint and the 1% cap.
Prospect is calling on James Bevan, Environment Agency chief executive, and the executive board to move away from the pay guidance which have been issued by the Treasury ahead of any formal pay negotiations starting.
In previous years the pay freeze and cap applied to both civil servants and public sector workers. However, Prospect is calling on the Environment Agency to clearly distinguish that their staff are public sector workers and not civil servants.
Prospect negotiations officer Kevin Warden said: “Other public sector organisations have pay remits of up to 3.5%, although with RPI currently around 3.4% this is only just keeping pace with the real rate of inflation.
“Part of any offer made to staff will need to include a significant increase in payments for the many standby and incident response roles within the organisation because unlike some other tier 1 responders who have been offered more than 1.5% - the Agency relies on volunteers to meet its out of hours obligations.”
The call for easing of the pay cap has also been extended to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
“We are calling on Secretary of State Michael Gove, to make good his words regarding the removal of a pay cap when the Environment Agency approaches them for clearance on a pay remit ahead of the start of formal pay negotiations”, Warden added.