Proposed industrial action and job cuts could disrupt 2010 support payments to England’s farmers, a spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services union has warned.


The Union’s Rural Payments Agency spokesman Glenn Ford said that feelings were running high because of proposed job losses and changes to redundancy packages.

RPA workers had been fully behind this week’s national strike which took place on 8-9 March, Mr Ford said and he warned of further action.

“There is an overtime ban which could affect any outstanding claims and further strikes are possible at the end of the month,” he said.

The union will then enter a consultative phase with political parties through April as the prospect of a General Election grows.

“But strikes could begin again in May once the election is over. That would coincide with the influx of payment applications,” Mr Ford said.

He explained that the action was needed to resist cuts in staff numbers which could reduce the efficiency of payment of farm support.

“About 100 fixed-term contract staff will be made redundant from the Newcastle office. A further 120 jobs will be reassigned to other civil service departments.

“That means the work at Newcastle will be loaded on to other offices such as Reading. But Reading also faces losing about 80 staff who will be redeployed,” he said.