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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Wiltshire’s Porton Down balloted for strike over pay


Workers at a military laboratory that has been vital to the testing of Covid-19 vaccines are set to balloted for strike action.

Following a long-running pay dispute, Prospect union members working at Porton Down in Wiltshire will begin voting on Friday.

If a strike occurs, it will be the first at the laboratory.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence stated that they valued their employees and were aware of the ballot.

A 2% pay increase was described as “derisory” by the union.

Union members are also involved in the dispute at two other Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) sites, Portsdown West in Fareham, Hampshire, and Fort Halstead in Sevenoaks, Kent.

‘Threat to security’

Prospect stated that morale was at an all-time low, with employees considering other opportunities.

Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham stated, “Prospect members at DSTL play a vital role in maintaining national security.”

This is not a skill that can be easily replaced; losing it could jeopardise our nation’s future security.

“The government and DSTL must begin to recognise and reward the enormous contribution of the experts they employ.”

Its employees were instrumental in the response to the Salisbury poisonings in 2018.

Prospect claims that DSTL employees are paid significantly less than their counterparts in the Ministry of Defence, describing the disparity as a “damaging gap.”

According to a MoD spokesperson: “Our DSTL employees are highly skilled and perform critical national security work. We value all of our employees and work hard to ensure that they receive salaries and benefits commensurate with their contributions “..

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