UNISON will ballot on pay from 14 March after the Environment Agency imposed an average 1.3% pay increase despite 90% of members rejecting that offer.
Here’s one workers’ story:
“I love my job as I really enjoy working outdoors and spend much of my week out and about driving between sites and walking stretches of rivers, I regularly walk up to 10 miles a day.
Unfortunately though my pay has barely increased over the last eight years, a large part due to austerity and public sector pay freezes.
I’m currently on 24k per year, or just under £1,400 per month after tax.
The biggest issue I have with this is that because I live and work near Kingston in Surrey housing is so expensive that I’m struggling to be able to buy a flat. I have managed to save a decent deposit, but I don’t get paid enough per month to be able to afford the monthly mortgage costs, bills and still have a decent quality of life.
Renting would cost more per month than a mortgage would thanks to the size of deposit I’ve managed to save.
Most single bedroom flats in the areas I’ve been looking at are at least 170 – 180k.
I am nearly 32 years old and still living with my parents with no idea when I’ll finally be able to move out. Not being able to move out into my own place and move on with my life is very depressing at this age.
I have been working for the Environment Agency as a river and flood defence inspector covering about half of Surrey and all of South London for eight years. My area stretches from Hampton Court all the way down to Crawley, and all the way across to Thamesmead.
My job involves following a yearly programme inspecting the rivers, flood defences & flood defence structures , looking for any issues which could lead to flooding such as: Blockages caused by fallen trees and failing flood defences.
Any issues I find I photograph and pass on to the catchment officers to get any required works carried out.
I also carry out all public site risk assessments for all EA owned & maintained sites and structures within my patch.”