Forensic scientists to strike over pay

Forensic
scientists have voted to stage a one-day strike over pay.

In
a ballot of 1,300 members of Prospect – the union for professional engineers –
working in the Forensic Science Service(FSS), they voted three to one for a
one-day strike on 2 June, followed by an overtime ban and work-to-rule.

The
decision reflects their anger that nine months after the due settlement date,
FSS management is still refusing to improve its 2003 below-inflation pay offer
of 1.125 per cent.

Announcing
the ballot result during Prospect’s biennial national conference, general
secretary Paul Noon said: "This is a further blow to dedicated public
servants who are already demoralised by the home secretary’s announcement that
he plans to sell off FSS, making Britain the only country in the world with a
privatised Forensic Science Service.

"Our
members are fiercely proud of the work they do," he added. "It helps
the guilty to be caught and the innocent to remain free. Their concerns that
privatisation will damage the FSS seem to be ignored. Now management is sending
a clear message that they should be refused a reasonable wage."

Administrative
staff at the FSS, represented by the Public and Commercial Services union, also
voted to take part in the strike and campaign for industrial action in an
earlier ballot by a majority of two to one.

Special
dispensation has been given to staff presenting evidence in ongoing court
cases, or called to emergency crime scenes.

By Quentin Reade

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