UKHO take action over pay

Prospect specialists at Hydrographic Office take industrial action over unfair pay

A mass walk out at 4pm by Prospect union members at the UK Hydrographic Office marks the start of industrial action as part of a campaign for fair pay.

The action, short of a strike, is a week-long programme of activities that will affect production targets and profits, but not safety. It includes a work-to-rule, a walk-out of members and an overtime ban. Staff will also be encouraged to reduce their flexi-working credit to zero and work only to job descriptions.

The branch will also write to the minister, Anna Soubry and UKHO board members arguing the case for fair pay arrangements at the organisation. Staff are being encouraged to write individually to their local MP.

UKHO, based in Taunton Somerset, imposed an offer for 2013 pay, which follows Treasury guidelines for public sector pay (1 per cent across-the-board). Although it could afford further improvements, it is bound by government policy, which prevents organisations like UKHO from being flexible with pay awards.

Prospect branch president John Bird said: “Members delivered an 85 per cent vote in favour of the action. Their message to management is: enough is enough. UKHO is a successful organisation that makes a profit, but the pay system is well and truly broken and requires a radical overhaul for the sake of fairness.”

Prospect negotiator Helen Stevens said: “We need a new pay system because the existing arrangements have driven down morale, are unfair to large numbers of staff and ultimately affect UKHO’s ability to attract the specialists it needs to operate effectively.

“Prospect members  are proud of the specialist skills they deploy to ensure the safety of those at sea and to serve the national interest. They should be paid fairly for it.”

Prospect national president Alan Grey will be present on Monday to lend support to members taking action on the day.