PCS is looking to take action on pay, staffing and funding in Natural England and our ballot, which opens on Monday (17), asks members to vote for strike action and action short of a strike to address these issues.
Our members in NE have had absolutely minimal pay rises for over 10 years. This means that many staff are now being paid poverty wages just above the national minimum wage, whilst pay across Natural England is appreciably worse than pay in other areas of Defra.
This is all compounded by chronic underfunding, where NE has lost 64% of its budget in the last decade, from £265 million in 2008/09 to £96m in 2018/19. This has led to unmanageable workloads and the movement of staff to more generalist roles leaving many members with nowhere to develop within Natural England.
Many staff feel demotivated and undervalued. PCS members, who are passionate about nature conservation, need the backing of central funding to be able to do their jobs.
NE needs to be properly funded to meet its environmental protection obligations and to be able to actively participate in Defra’s 25-year plan to improve the environment.
Prepared to fight
Members have said they are willing to fight for pay, terms and conditions as well as standing up for NE.
For our members in NE voting yes in the ballot directly impacts on our ability to pressure the government, both Defra and the Treasury, to address issues of funding and fair pay and conditions.
A yes vote will open up options for PCS to allow the campaign to be strengthened, working with Prospect who are also balloting their members.
Voting for action short of strike, such as working to rule and refusing to undertake overtime, will allow us to demonstrate that there simply are not the staff available to undertake the vital work of NE.
Voting for strike action gives the campaign an option to raise the pressure on Natural England management, Defra and the Treasury, to say as forcefully as we can together that we’ve had enough and together we’re prepared to stand up for NE.
Why it is important to vote yes, yes
The law requires that at least 50% of PCS members vote in the ballot, with a majority voting yes to the questions asked to enable us to take forward our campaign alongside Prospect.
Please vote yes, yes and return your completed ballot paper in the pre-paid envelope provided.
Your ballot paper must be received by the Independent Scrutineer no later than noon on Monday, 9 March.
We need all PCS members to get involved and help us win this campaign.
Not already a member? Join PCS.