INSPECTORS, researchers, scientists and support staff at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) were preparing for their first strike in almost 20 years as Socialist Worker went to press. Members of the PCS and Prospect unions, 40 percent of HSE's 4,000 staff, face a pay cut as management tries to squeeze down the maximum level of all pay bands. HSE management can afford to pay an inflation-based rise, maintain previous commitments on pay progression and stay within Treasury-imposed limits-but with top managers' bonuses based on reducing budgets they have a vested interest in reducing the pay bill dramatically.
Last minute talks at ACAS on Tuesday were not expected to postpone the action, unless management unexpectedly caved in to the unions' bottom line-no pay cuts. The first strike is scheduled for Monday. If you want to meet that rare breed, an HSE inspector, and show solidarity get down to your local picket line.