NERC scientists in pay strike

Prospect's members in first NERC scientist pay strike for 30 years

Scientists and researchers at the Natural Environment Research Council are planning a walk-out on Monday 14 September, their first pay strike for more than 30 years.

Prospect's 750 members will walk out from research facilities across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at 12.30pm in protest over their pay. Colleagues from the PCS union will join them.

Prospect national secretary Tony Bell said: “Our members have not taken this decision lightly, but they feel they have no choice but to protest as their pay continues to fall behind other comparators.”

He said this is because:

·       after a five-year pay freeze, the government has announced pay restrictions of 1% a year for a further five years

·       NERC is compelling staff to accept individual contract changes to end contractual        progression without any proper consultation

·       future pay arrangements remain uncertain

·       NERC is proposing to trial performance-related pay against the wishes of its staff and trade unions.

“Members recognise that NERC is subject to government public sector pay policy, but they are incensed by the council’s approach which aims to remove pay progression, without adequate consultation or compensation.

“Staff being promoted face years fixed at the same pay point with no system in place to reward their efforts. In addition, compelling staff to accept the changes, or risk never having a pay rise again, has further demotivated them at a time when NERC is also looking to privatise at least two of its centres – The National Oceanography Centre and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.”

Prospect believes that the move will exacerbate recruitment and retention problems and impact on NERC’s important national and international work which covers a range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic sciences.

Practical applications include:

·       helping to predict and plan for natural disasters

·       geological mapping for anything from crime investigations to growth in the energy industry                                       

·       predicting the health risks posed by new species

·       assessing eco-systems to inform agricultural policy.                                      

The strike locations are:

Polaris House, Swindon, SN2 1EU

British Antarctic Survey

Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET including ARSF Cambridge Airport staff
FAAM, Cranfield University

British Geological Survey

Colby House, Belfast, BT9 5BF
Columbus House, Cardiff, CF15 7NE
Murchinson House, Edinburgh, EH9 3LA
Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG
Engineering & Core Store, Loanhead, Midlothian, EH20 9AU
Natural History Museum, London, SW7 5BD
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW

Penicuick, Midlothian, EH26 0QB

Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4AP

Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB

National Oceanography Centre
Joseph Proudman Building, Liverpool, L3 5DA

University of Southampton Waterfront Campus, Southampton, SO14 3ZH

Sea Mammal Research Unit
Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB

NERC Radiocarbon Facility

East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, G75 0QF

For more information contact:

Tony Bell                   0117 929 4441 (w)        07713 511701 (m)
Katherine Beirne      020 7902 6625 (w)         07753 933174 (m)