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Industrial action could be stepped up by Thames Barrier staff in pay dispute

PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 August 2019

Staff at the Thames Barrier are involved in a dispute over pay. Picture: Ken Mears

Staff at the Thames Barrier are involved in a dispute over pay. Picture: Ken Mears

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Thames Barrier staff could step up industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Members of Unison employed by the Environment Agency have been taking industrial action for the past three months to seek an improvement in their 2018 pay offer, which the union says amounts to a real-terms pay cut.

Action by staff at the Thames Barrier, which runs between Silvertown and Charlton, has taken the form of not doing work not required in workers' contracts, and withdrawing from incident response rosters on one or two days a week.

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The union is considering asking its members at the Thames Barrier to withdraw from incident response cover for a longer period in September.

This would not be strike action as they would be working for all the normal hours required in their contract.

Unison's national officer Andrew Dobbie said: "Staff who work hard to maintain vital flood responses and protect the public are simply not prepared to accept another financial blow."

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "We have robust arrangements to ensure that the Thames Barrier can continue to operate as necessary to protect London against the risk of flooding."

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