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Government pay deal shows ‘disregard’ for Environment Agency workers

11 Aug 2021
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Unions have described the real terms pay cut as ‘a national embarrassment’ in the run up to COP26

GMB union have called on the government to ‘change their approach’ after offering a miserly, real terms pay cut in this year's pay offer to Environment Agency (EA) staff.

The Government have offered a £250 or 0% consolidated increase, which amounts to a real terms pay cut in this year’s pay offer 

The offer come after The Secretary of State for DEFRA in June implemented a policy set down by the Chancellor to “pause” pay increases for most staff, and award £250 to those paid less then £24,000.

So far Environment agency have received a cumulative pay cut of over 20% since 2010.

Environment agency staff have been at the forefront of fighting the environmental emergencies in the UK, including the major flooding incidents over the last 20 months.

View letter to Secretary of State

Staff were on hand at Todbrook Reservoir, Storms Ciara and Dennis in February 2020, and Storms Bella (over Christmas 2020) and Christoph in January 2021. 

At the time both the Environment secretary and the Prime Minister praised staff in their response to those incidents, but now expect them to take a pay cut for their bravery

GMB has demanded that the government change their approach, and are seeking an urgent meeting with the Environment secretary George Eustace to ensure that staff are paid the fair amount they deserve.

Kevin Brandstatter, GMB National officer said:

“Our members are appalled and angry that the Government have capped their pay.

“It shows a new level of disregard and contempt for first responders in an emergency such as a flood, chemical fire, or major pollution incident.

“EA staff were on the frontline saving lives and property when rivers burst their banks multiple times over the last decade and, we can expect more of their sacrifices in the coming years given the ravages of climate change.

“The Government must change its approach and provide funding to the EA to give everyone a pay rise”.

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