Environment Agency condemned over pay imposition

UNISON slams the move, as the agency also announced worse terms for new employees

Vote yes for action in the Environment Agency graphic

UNISON has today condemned the decision of the Environment Agency (EA) to implement a 2% + £345 pay offer for staff while, at the same time, imposing worse terms in contracts for new workers joining the agency.

UNISON national secretary Donna Rowe-Merriman stated: “When this pay offer by the EA is implemented, workers will clearly see just how ineffective the award is at tackling the increasing cost of living.

“UNISON members are in serious need of an improved pay outcome. We are told that the decision on any improved offer lies with the government, and we urge them to intervene.

“Most EA workers have not had a salary increase since July 2020 – and no increase that matched inflation for over a decade. This woefully inadequate offer this year will not prevent even more workers being plunged into ‘in-work’ poverty and relying on food banks.”

The agency has also announced significant changes to contracts for new employees. These will introduce a mandatory requirement to take part in incident response rotas, something that is currently a voluntary requirement for existing staff – in effect, hiring new staff on inferior terms and conditions.

This imposition means that the agency is seeking to recruit new staff to fill the staffing crisis, but on significantly different terms and conditions to existing staff.

UNISON has campaigned against these changes to new contracts, arguing that proper recompense for carrying out these frontline duties in emergency situations will ensure sufficient people volunteer to participate.

Mrs Rowe-Merriman said: “Far from being viewed as an ‘attraction’ for new staff joining the agency, these changes – coupled with the declining value of EA wages, year on year – will fail to deal with the tsunami of staff leaving to seek better paid employment elsewhere”.