Met Office employees have walked out today in a strike over discriminatory pay.
Managers and specialists at the Exeter-based organisation will strike for 24 hours in protest of the pay policy imposed by the government. Members of the Prospect Union claim that this policy is failing to close the company’s gender pay gap.
In an equal pay audit conducted by the Met Office, it found the gap at 10.7%; higher than the national average of 9.4%. According to Prospect, a senior female meteorologist earns on average £7,000 less than their male equivalents.
Strikers are expected to form picket lines, lobby parliament and put their case to MPs. Prospect spokeswoman, Helen Stevens, has argued that the government “talks the talk on fair and equal pay, but does not walk the walk.”
Continuing she said, “Prospect members do not take this action lightly. They are loyal and committed to their work but they believe that the current pay policy is damaging the Met Office and its ability to serve its customers.”
“The Met Office modernised its pay system in 2009, but the system has never been allowed to work. The impact is that women are being discriminated against…”
“The pay problems…would not cost the taxpayer a penny extra to resolve. Prospect is simply calling on the Government to give the Met Office the freedom to manage its own paybill.”
The union also argue that the pay policy is failing to allow the organisation to recruit and keep specialist staff and to be able to match the pay rates of the private sector.
Stevens argued that, “The Met Office needs these people to maintain the public weather service and realise the considerable benefits of the investment in the Met Office’s new super computer.”