GMB Calls On Environment Agency To Think Again Over 1,700 Job Cuts In Wake Of Last Weeks Storm Floods
Penny wise and pound foolish policies to cut over 10% of the Agency's staff will cripple the capacity and ability to respond effectively to emergencies and have proper defences against them in place says GMB.
GMB, the union for staff at the environment agency, commenting on an update from Chief Executive of Environment Agency regarding last week’s storm floods links it to proposals to 1,700 staff. See notes to editors for staff update on East Coast Surge recovery – from Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency.
Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said "Just weeks after GMB warned of the risks to people and property of even more cuts to the Environment Agency, last week's storm surge and flooding, the worst for 60 years, must be a timely wake up call for government to think again about further cuts to the Environment Agency.
Penny wise and pound foolish policies to cut over 10% of the Agency's staff will cripple the capacity and ability to respond effectively to emergencies and have proper defences against them in place.
There needs to be a rethink on plans to implement central government cuts of 1,700 staff. This will put lives and property at greater risk if flood and storm damage
The Board and management of the Environment Agency must campaign jointly with GMB and the other trade unions before it is too late."
Contact Justin Bowden 07710 631 351 or Frank Minal 07713 079930
Notes to editors
Staff update on East Coast Surge recovery – from Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency on 12th December.
I wrote to you at the start of the week to thank you for your work to protect people and places from flooding and to give you an update on the impact of the coastal surge. We are now in the recovery phase of the incident and are reviewing the impact of the extreme weather conditions on our flood risk assets that help protect people, property and infrastructure from flooding. We are moving quickly to understanding what priority repairs are needed and, in the medium to long term, what future investment is needed to keep coastal communities safe.
The full implications of the flooding event are not yet clear, but we may need to prioritise some work to ensure recovery can be planned and delivered effectively. We have yet to establish whether there will be any impacts on this and next year’s budgets and any knock on effect to the organisational changes we are developing.
On the Strategic Reviews Response Programme, we are progressing with the work streams looking at ways of working and how we organise ourselves to deliver all our work either as a national once service or at Area level. This week Directors were due to consider the first work stream proposals. We have decided to delay this. This is because many of the people involved in these pieces of work were heavily involved in incident management and we want to make sure people are able to finish their proposals without undue pressure.
We will apply the lessons learnt from our management of the recent incident to emerging proposals and, while it is fresh in our minds, test incident management proposals against the challenges we faced together last week.
This won’t affect the timetable for the change. Directors will consider the proposals at a series of meetings in January and we still intend to begin staff consultation in February.
It’s a busy time for the Environment Agency. We have just managed the most serious coastal event for 60 years, whilst our Executive Manager group are in a period of consultation and we are reviewing our future structures. It’s important we are aware of one another’s well being and support each other through a time of uncertainty. Please keep talking to your line manager and using the materials available on Easinet to stay informed about our plans.
On Monday I will be hosting a Chat with the Chief with David Jordon. We want all of you to feel able to take part and ask questions. We want to be open and honest with you about the future direction of the Environment Agency and to hear your views.