AT THE entrance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) headquarters the press gather to report on the crisis of foot and mouth disease. On the inside a different crisis is brewing. PCS union members in MAFF are debating if they should take industrial action while the foot and mouth crisis is ongoing.
Industrial action may force bosses to make an early pay offer that meets their demands, which include scrapping performance-related pay, and a substantial pay rise to catch up with other government departments. The pay settlement date is April, yet each year negotiations are delayed while MAFF awaits Treasury approval of an offer.
This year we are not in the mood to be kept waiting. The recent MAFF London branch annual general meeting unanimously backed the call for unspecified industrial action on pay. There is a danger some MAFF staff will feel guilt tripped into postponing industrial action until the worst of the crisis is over. The mood in London suggests that management may no longer be able to rely on such misplaced loyalty.
- KEITH CRANE, PCS MAFF London, personal capacity
FURTHER TALKS are continuing between the Passport Agency and the PCS union following a massive ten to one rejection of a pay offer. The PCS strike ballot has been delayed until Thursday of this week. Management are worried about a strike.