Highways England workers vote for strike over pay

Prospect members at Highways England have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over pay.

Members were balloted after the organisation imposed a 1% pay award on its staff. The imposed deal represents a further real-terms cut to pay following on from many years of below-inflation pay awards for most staff. Some staff have not had a pay increase for five years, which also means no increase to their pensionable pay.

This is in stark contrast to the chief executive who last year received a 13% increase to his overall package, bringing it to £456,727. Since 2013, the number of people earning more than £100,000 has also increased from six to 63 at a cost of £8.5m.

82% of respondents voted in favour of strike action (18% against), while 93% voted in favour of action short of a strike (7% against). The vote surpassed the statutory 50% turnout requirement.

Following the big vote in favour of industrial action, Prospect will now be seeking further talks with management. Unless an improved pay offer is received Prospect will look at possible dates for strike action and action short of a strike would be likely to include work to rule, an overtime ban and withdrawal of goodwill.

Prospect negotiator Nick Radiven said: “This overwhelming vote for industrial action sends a clear message to Highways England that we will not stand for their derisory pay offer.

“We are not aware of any other organisation covered by the pay remit guidance which has offered less than 2%, and indeed many have submitted a business case for a higher increase.

“Highways England could and should have submitted a business case for a bigger pay award but instead they have deliberately decided to make the lowest pay award they could and have refused to negotiate with unions.

“We want to avoid taking industrial action if possible but  it is now up to Highways England to come back round the negotiating table and come up with an improved pay offer.”

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