22 August 2001
Regional Defra strikes planned

By Donald MacPhail

CIVIL servants are set to press ahead with further strike action which will delay foot-and-mouth compensation and farm subsidies.

The Public and Commercial Services Union plans one-day strikes at two regional Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs offices next week.

On Monday (20 August) ex-Ministry of Agriculture union members in England held a national strike over pay and conditions

Former MAFF members are furious that staff transferred to Defra from the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions earn 2000-3000 more.

The union claimed that the action was an overwhelming success with 93% of its 3500 ex-MAFF members taking part.

Union representative Sheila Pickman said: “The turnout gives the message that members are seriously fed up, and its about time Defra responded to their claims.”

She said that the locations for regional strikes would be decided on Thursday, and that members will continue to work only to the terms of their contracts.

Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) payments, environmental scheme applications and foot-and-mouth compensation are most likely to be affected.

Defra said that Mondays action caused “minimal disruption”, but Ms Pickman said managers were running scared.

She said that line managers had been issued with guidance and union members warned that annual leave and flexible hours may be restricted.

Defra has offered pay rises ranging from 1350-1600, but the union is holding out for 10% or 2000 for all members.

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