Ballot papers issued today (Friday) to 1,300 forensic scientists in FSS ask whether members are prepared to take strike action and industrial action short of a strike.
The move follows FSS management’s decision to reject the 2003 pay claim despite making a £10.2m surplus in 2002/3. Prospect’s members in FSS overwhelmingly rejected an offer of 1.125% from July 2003 by 11 to one.
Union negotiator Mike Sparham said: "Our members are extremely angry that not only is the offer less than half the rate of inflation, in a year when FSS made a substantial surplus, but that it was eight months late."
Sparham said morale at FSS is already low after the government announced plans to privatise the service. Staff fear this will raise costs for the police, lead to fewer samples being analysed, destroy the public service ethos of the organisation and compromise the quality of science carried out by FSS.
"We have made it clear that we are ready to meet FSS management again at any time but, in the absence of any further negotiations, we feel there is no other option than to ballot members on industrial action."
Prospect is seeking a 5% increase. The results of the ballot will be known by May 18.