Forensic scientists to strike after pay talks fail

Forensic
scientists will go ahead with their 24-hour strike today after unions and
management failed to agree over pay.

The
Prospect union’s 1,300 scientists working in the Forensic Science Service
(FSS), say they have been left with no other course of action, as FSS
management still refuses to improve its pay offer of 1.125 per cent, nine
months after the due settlement date.

This
is the first time in the history of the FSS that staff have taken strike
action.

Administrative
staff at the FSS, represented by the Public and Commercial Services union, will
also take part in the strike, taking the total number of strikers up to 2,700.

Prospect’s
general secretary Paul Noon called the pay offer ‘derisory’.

“Their
evidence is often crucial to a case, requiring a high degree of skilful
analysis and years of training, yet they are the poorest-paid professionals in
the criminal justice system," he said.

A
fully-trained forensic scientist with around 10 years’ experience
post-graduation, attending crime scenes and giving evidence in court, receives
around £25,000 a year.

In
comparison, a police detective inspector can expect £38-£40,000, and a Crown
Prosecution Service solicitor receives between £37-£49,000.

The
FSS undertakes about 90 per cent of the forensic work carried out for the 43
police forces in England and Wales, the Crown Prosecution Service and Customs
& Excise.

By Michael Millar

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