Pay freeze triggers strike at Met Office

Pay freeze triggers strike at Met Office

Met Office staff will strike for the first time in living memory this Thursday (26 February) over the ongoing pay freeze.

Members of the Prospect union believe the Met Office needs the flexibility to pay fair market rates to retain and recruit the skilled staff needed to maintain a world-leading weather and climate forecasting service.

The escalating campaign of action began last Thursday (19 February), with a withdrawal of “goodwill” and additional support. This week’s action will see hundreds of Prospect members in the main Met Office building in Exeter gather at 2pm before walking out to set up picket lines for a three hour strike. Colleagues in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and other frontline stations will walk out at the same time.

However, services with implications for national security and safety of life will be maintained throughout.

“This is unprecedented, no one can remember the last time people went on strike here over pay - it must be decades ago,” said lead Prospect rep Gordon Hutchinson.

“It shows how strongly people feel about a government pay policy completely at odds with what the prime minister advocates for the private sector.

“David Cameron says successful businesses should give their staff a pay rise, but won’t allow the Met Office freedom to manage its own reward system.”

Helen Stevens, Prospect negotiator added: “It’s sad to see such a magnificent organisation held back by political ideology.

“First and foremost our members want the Met Office and its world class science to thrive. It can’t do that if it can’t recruit and retain the right people.”