The Rural Payments Agency has warned farmers that strike action by staff is likely to disrupt its Customer Service Centre helpline.

The Public and Commercial Services Union are planning industrial action on 8 and 9 March across the Civil Service which will directly affect the RPA

The agency says this action is likely to be most keenly felt by farmers using RPA frontline services, primarily when calling the Customer Service Centre. 

In a statement issued on Friday 5 March the agency said: “While we have plans to try and limit the impact on farmers, with a two day action it is inevitable that there will be some disruption to normal services. 

“We won’t know the extent of the industrial action until Monday, however indications are that the CSC will only be able to offer a very limited service. While we will try to answer as many queries as we can there are alternatives until things return to normal towards the end of next week.”

Cattle farmers who use the BCMS will still be able to use the CTS Online service to apply for cattle passports and report movements.

The agency added it would focus the resources it had on dealing with outstanding Single Farm Payments. The RPA website will also still be available for general information.