Eighteen MPs yesterday dropped in to meet Prospect professionals and hear about their vital contribution to the economy at a lively event in the House of Commons. Cameras snapped and videos whirred as the MPs posed with the seven members, chatted to them and explained why they are backing Prospect's ‘I'm Not a number' campaign.
The event, in the Commons Jubilee Room, set out to highlight the need for government to protect skilled jobs, rather than make cuts that will have a devastating impact on the public and private sectors.
Mary Creagh, shadow environment secretary, was one of those came along. She said: "I'm here at this Prospect event in parliament to show my support for the thousands of people who work in our public services doing vital work in research, in science, in defence, to help or keep a strong national economy, and to say to the government that they are cutting too far and too fast.
"Today's event gives a voice to people we don't normally see to talk about the vital work they are doing in medical research, in forestry research, in controlling air traffic. When you get on a plane you don't think about it but if they weren't there you'd be in serious trouble.
"It's a really important wake-up call to us as policymakers and representatives that these are services that need to be protected, looked after, well managed and that actually provide the infrastructure for the nation that we need to go forward into the 21st century."
Seven members talked about their vital jobs and posed for photos with the MPs. They were: Suzanne Armitage, a forensic scientist from Chorley; Sue Benham, a forest researcher from Hampshire; Darren Coe, a defence researcher for QinetiQ in Malvern; Dave Roberts, a microbiologist at the Natural History Museum; Paul Upton, an air traffic controller; Peter Williams, a synchrotron scientist from Daresbury; and Robert Wood, a test engineer at RAF Sealand.
Reports from Prospect's sectors indicate that at least 25,000-30,000 of the UK's most skilled jobs will be cut from the economy by 2014-15 because of public spending cuts.
Pictures of the 18 MPs with the seven Prospect members are available at www.prospect.org.uk/flickr
A Prospect news release contains a list of those who attended, and who have signed Early Day Motion 1394, which urges the government to rethink its decision to axe so many skilled and professional workers and rethink the language it uses to describe them.
Prospect has also produced seven leaflets featuring each member who took part and the sectors they work in. You can download copies from the Resources area of CutStop or order hard copies from firstname.lastname@example.org