Workers at the ‘derisory’ MOD have threatened to strike over a salary dispute, threatening a mass walkout.
Workers at the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in Porton Down, who work for the Ministry of Defence, are threatening to strike over a “derisory” two percent salary increase promised by the government.
At the clandestine facility in Wiltshire, more than 1,000 union members are being balloted for a walkout. While the wage increase mirrored what was offered elsewhere in the Ministry of Defence, the Prospect union said that staff are paid “substantially less” than other MOD employees, and that a 2% increase would do nothing to narrow the pay gap.
Chemical and biological weapons experts had been “taken for granted for far too long,” according to the Prospect union, and the employer had now “forced” a two percent raise.
“Prospect members at DSTL play a key role in maintaining national security,” stated Deputy General Secretary Garry Graham.
“Morale is at an all-time low, and unless something changes, they will begin to look for work elsewhere.”
“This is not a skill that can readily be replaced; losing it could jeopardize our nation’s future security,” the official warned.
“Staff at DSTL conduct highly skilled work that is crucial to our national security,” stated Shadow Defence Minister Chris Evans of the site’s relevance.
“Both the government and the DSTL must recognize the importance of this job and come to an agreement that represents the service they provide in keeping this country safe.”
The vote solicits union members’ opinions on strike action as well as non-strike industrial action alternatives.
It is expected to persist around a fortnight.
“We are aware of the balloting on industrial action taking place at Dstl among members of the trade union Prospect,” a representative for the MOD stated.
“Our Dstl staff are highly skilled professionals who perform specialized work that is important to national security.”
“We value all of our employees and work hard to ensure that they receive compensation and benefits commensurate with their contributions,” the statement concluded.
Porton Down is near to Salisbury, where Russian operatives allegedly attacked Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence chief, with Novichok nerve agents.
Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to the toxic concoction when her partner brought her a bottle of perfume that purportedly contained the chemical.
Following the event, scientists at Porton Down were involved in the investigation and security around the location.
A prominent scientist at the facility expressed his shock at what had occurred. “Brinkwire News Summary.”