Workers in the PCS and Prospect unions working for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are balloting over a revised pay offer.
It is a three-year deal with minimum guaranteed annual rises of 2.7 percent, 2.1 percent and 2.1 percent and a return to a longstanding trade union demand of incremental annual steps up the pay bands.
But the offer also involves a huge increase in performance related pay, including non?consolidated bonuses of up to 4 percent of annual salary, with a cap of 20 percent of staff getting it every year.
This is a recipe for a dog-eat-dog competitive culture that will destroy the strong tradition of teamwork within HSE. The result of the ballot is due on Tuesday of next week.
Last week the HSE Prospect branch, which represents HSE inspectors, held its annual policy conference. The key debate centred on the union’s attitude to Workplace Health Connect (WHC).
WHC is a £20 million project, sponsored by HSE and backed by the TUC, which will see private companies providing health and safety advice to small companies.
The private advisers will respond to requests for advice, make one free visit to a workplace and then point to further advice which will have to be paid for.
The advisers will not have powers to force employers to make changes and are specifically instructed not to pass on information to the HSE.
Prospect believes that WHC is the thin end of the wedge of privatisation and resolved to warn the wider trade union movement of the dangers involved in the project.