Personnel management, the Agency way

Staff have been "bullied, intimidated and victimised to force them to accept a reduction in salary," according to an anonymous note circulating in the Agency's Southern Region. Three named managers are accused of colluding to force through decisions on individuals' gradings earlier this year.

The three managers allegedly "refused to honour a commitment to pay five EPOs [Environmental Protection Officers] on ex-NRA grades C and D made when these people were promoted in September 1997, long before the new terms and conditions were available. Instead they have imposed salaries on grades 3 and 4 which are up to £2,000 less than that offered at interview. Meanwhile external appointees were offered salaries based on the old scales and these were honoured. Why should existing staff be disadvantaged in this way?

"The EPOs tried to challenge the decision through the nationally agreed grievance procedure. Rather than allow the grievances to go forward for consideration these managers demanded the five EPOs sign their new terms and conditions immediately.

"Some of the EPOs felt they had no choice but to sign. The managers then chose to put extra pressure on the remaining EPOs. They picked a member of staff with less than two years' service and demanded she sign within 24 hours or face immediate dismissal.She signed.

"The actions of these managers nearly provoked a strike. The EPOs have been forced to agree that they will not take the matter any further. Unions must not be involved. They have been branded as troublemakers for asking the Agency to honour its word."

According to the note, morale in the area concerned has plummeted. The Area Manager concerned "talks of a real feel of energy.This is farcical. [The manager] has caused only anger and resentment."

The note's authors say they had to act anonymously because they are "concerned for their jobs if they openly question management actions." A union spokesman told ENDS they should contact their union representative so that the allegations can be investigated.

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