Conservative MP signs Prospect pledges

Diamond reps take the Prospect Pledge to their MP

Two Prospect reps from Diamond Light Source branch met their local MP in August to talk about the union’s Pledge campaign.

Lloyd Collier sent a Prospect Pledge card to his local Conservative MP, Richard Benyon and followed up by asking for a meeting to discuss the campaign. 

Lloyd had previously lobbied his MP in October 2010 and continued to correspond in the intervening period.

Richard responded to the each of the Prospect pledges in a detailed letter and agreed to meet Lloyd and fellow constituent and Prospect rep, Austen Rose at his constituency office in Newbury.

During the 30 minute meeting, Lloyd and Austen pressed home the importance of two pledges that are particularly relevant in their workplace: stop the brain drain of skilled civil servants and women in STEM.

They emphasised the importance of having a reward system to attract and retain the quality staff required to deliver the world-class scientific output needed to help UK plc emerge from the worst recession in more than 50 years.

Richard said that while pay restraint was originally required as part of the wider austerity measures, he was now coming round to the opinion that a continued policy of pay restraint was becoming unsustainable. 

He also agreed with the need for more women in STEM, outlining measures the government had already taken and said he was more than happy to do promote Prospect’s campaign.

After briefly touching on the other three pledges, Richard was signed up to all five.  He asked Lloyd and Austen to keep him informed about the campaign. He also said he would like to visit Diamond Light Source to find out more about what it does.

Lloyd said: “It was good to meet Richard again, this time in his constituency office rather than in Parliament. He seemed very interested in our issues and we had a healthy debate about the government’s pay restraint policy. 

“It was fantastic that he signed up to this pledge in particular, given that he is an ex-government minister. I am looking forward to inviting him to our workplace to show him what we do and how important it is for us to be able to attract and retain the highest quality staff if we are to remain a world class facility,” said Lloyd.

Austen said: “Mr Benyon was kind enough to give us a reasonable amount of time to chew over the Prospect pledges. He listened and responded to our thoughts in a positive and understanding way. He showed genuine interest and concern about the impact of the pay freeze that we have all endured over the last five years.

“All in all, we felt that this was a very productive meeting for both parties, and we look forward to meeting Mr Benyon at Diamond in the near future.”