16 November 2001

Strike delays pay

INDUSTRIAL action could delay subsidy payments to arable farmers, DEFRA has admitted.

Farmers were due to start receiving arable area aid payments this week. But DEFRA permanent secretary Brian Bender said some payments may be delayed because civil servants are striking over pay.

"The industrial action taking place risks affecting that and I cannot guarantee we will be 100% successful," Mr Bender told the House of Commons rural affairs select committee on Wed, Nov 14.

DEFRA staff in the Public and Commercial Services Union have been taking industrial action since August. They were angry that they were paid less than staff joining the new department from the old Department of the Environment. &#42