Qinetiq scientists vote to strike

Qinetiq scientists have voted in favour of taking industrial action over the company’s decision to impose a pay freeze in 2009.

About 58% of Prospect union’s 2,000 members voted 72% in favour of taking part in strike action at the defence research and technology company. The ballot, which ended last Friday (29 May), also revealed that 85% support taking industrial action short of a strike, which is likely to include a ban on overtime working and the withdrawal of goodwill.

National secretary David Luxton said the outcome of the ballot demonstrated the strength of feeling among members over the pay freeze.

“We will finalise our plan of action following a meeting of all QinetiQ unions on 8 June. Our overriding focus will be to persuade the company that there needs to be a genuine dialogue on the way forward if we are to avoid disruption to the work of the company in the coming months,” said Luxton.

The decision to freeze pay at Qinetiq this year was made despite a rise in the company’s underlying operating profits from £106m in 2007 to £127m in 2008. The UK arm of Qinetiq saw profits rise sharply by 30% in the six months to September 2008.

Staff are angry and say that the company is using the recession as an excuse to freeze their pay while senior managers are set to still receive large bonuses.

Last year chief executive Graham Love received a bonus payment of over £230,000.

QinetiQ employs more than 7,000 staff in the UK and operates over 40 sites with major facilities located at Farnborough in Hampshire, Malvern in Worcestershire and Boscombe Down, Wiltshire.

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