I work at the National Physical Laboratory in Middlesex. I’m a union rep for my union Prospect, and I’ve been hearing from colleagues here that many are planning to march with us in London on 18 October.
NPL is the UK’s central laboratory for measurement standards, the largest applied physics organisation in the country – state owned but with the operation contracted out to SERCO.
At our latest branch meeting, members revealed that many are unhappy with their levels of pay and their prospects for career progression. Prospect members can be professional scientists like us, engineers and managers, but with pay rising more slowly than house prices and rents, especially in London and the South East, I know of people who are considering giving up dream careers in science – with experience that Britain really needs – to move to other sectors or to different parts of the country.
One thing we often come up against when we argue for greater wage increases is that pay is ‘benchmarked’ against that of other companies. It feels like the employers are all in it together, colluding to keep pay down. That’s why the rally on the 18th is so important – we need to speak with a collective voice to send a message to employers and the government that enough is enough.
Working people in the UK have to make it clear that we are not prepared to put up with decreasing wages and the erosion of our rights at work. I’m looking forward to meeting up with other Prospect members and trade unionists from across the country and across industries to say that Britain Needs A Pay Rise!