- 2019 Water, Environment & Transport Conference
- 25 February 2019
In December 2018, UNISON members voted by over 9 to 1 to reject the Environment Agency’s 2018 pay offer which would give workers an average rise of less than 1.3%. This amounts to an overall erosion of pay in real terms of over 20% since 2009. The other recognised unions which balloted also rejected the offer by similar margins. In response, the EA moved to immediately impose the offer, entirely unchanged. Subsequent consultation with UNISON members showed clear support for industrial action aimed at persuading the Agency to reopen negotiations to enable a fair settlement to be reached.
The EA’s decision to totally ignore the views of union members is unprecedented. Failing to effectively challenge it will weaken UNISON’s hand in future pay and other negotiations and consultations, and lead to members questioning what support they were getting from their union at a time of great need. It would also impact on UNISON’s future ability to recruit non-members – a successful campaign could be used as a great recruitment example of what TU membership and solidarity can achieve. It is therefore imperative that all avenues to challenge this decision are employed.
Conference calls upon the Service Group Executive to:
1) Provide all practical support to Environment Agency branches as they take forward their campaign to persuade the Agency to think again;
2) Use Labour Link and all other mechanisms to build political support for workers at the Agency to receive fair pay reward;
3) Ensure that these actions also apply if needed to negotiations to secure a better offer in the 2019 pay round, which is likely to be equally challenging.