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To: Secretary of State for Defra

You get the environment you pay for

Dear Secretary of State, 

We write as members of PCS EFRA to congratulate you on winning the election. As always, the Civil and Public servants within Defra and its related bodies are prepared to deliver the environmental outcomes set out in your party’s manifesto.  

We are also writing to explain that even though we are dedicated to serving the public and working to protect the environment we do have a mandate to take industrial action if needed.  We stand ready to take this step to ensure we are properly equipped to deliver for your government

Defra and its related bodies are central to tackling emergencies caused by the climate and a damaged nature. As a sponsoring department for net zero, we are coordinating efforts to transition away from fossil fuels. As overseers of the water sector, we are working with regulators to clean up our rivers and bathing waters. As the frequency of droughts, floods and other disasters increase the Department’s emergency functions will be key in protecting communities and helping them adapt to more unpredictable conditions. 

All the while parts of the Defra Group are on the frontline of delivering directly to our communities.  Our members serve the agricultural sector helping them to safeguard our nation’s food supply.  Protect the biosecurity of our nation at our borders.  Preserving the biodiversity or our countryside, shorelines and seas.  Growing and protecting the forests that belong to everyone.

Charged with delivering such important agendas, resolving the long-standing degradation of civil servant pay and conditions must be an urgent priority for your government. 

In May, 85% of PCS EFRA group members voted to give a mandate for strike action over our national demands including fair pay and a significant shortening of the working week. 

After more than a decade of below inflation pay-rises we have suffered a dramatic erosion in our standard of living. Research commissioned by PCS shows that, on pay, the civil service has gone from being an above average employer to well below average. This has accelerated since 2010 with AO and EO grade pay up to 26% and 32% lower in 2023. Civil and public servants in the Defra Group now find themselves nearing the national minimum wage, with 1 in 12 Civil Servants working across Government being forced to use foodbanks. 

We hope we can work together so staff are no longer distracted by how they make ends meet and can balance the pressures of modern life alongside delivering the vital work that then whole of Defra Group is charged with. 

At such a critical moment, we must ensure that the workforce is equipped to face our collective challenges.  So, while we never want to have to resort to withdrawing our labour, we find ourselves in the position where we are able and prepared to, to achieve fair working conditions for those delivering the new Government’s environmental agenda. 

Our negotiators are available for urgent discussions. 

Why is this important?

You can only win a fair pay deal collectively, by showing your strength of feeling and willingness to take action. 

How it will be delivered

We will deliver this to the new Secretary of State on Monday 8 July



2024-07-02 07:36:12 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2024-06-18 10:45:58 +0100

500 signatures reached

2024-06-17 11:46:54 +0100

100 signatures reached

2024-06-17 11:22:53 +0100

50 signatures reached

2024-06-17 10:59:32 +0100

25 signatures reached

2024-06-17 10:55:10 +0100

10 signatures reached