Bush scientists join national strike action

Centre For Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate - lunchtime walk-out and half day strike action
Centre For Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate - lunchtime walk-out and half day strike action

Scientists at Bush Estate near Penicuik went out on a lunchtime strike on Monday over pay, as part of national industrial action.

Prospect trade union’s 750 members, including Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) staff at Bush Estate, walked out from research facilities across the United Kingdom.

Heath Malcolm, Prospet NERC branch secretary, said: “There was a good turn-out from the site and I am pleased to say the heavy rain only dampened clothes and placards, not spirits.

“Three local politicians, MSP Alison Johnstone (Green), Councillor Russell Imrie (Lab) and Councillor Ian Baxter (Green) attended the rally to show support for the action. They each gave impressive speeches, acknowledging the national value of the science undertaken here, and the importance of having a skilled workforce in Midlothian.

“Despite the weather, all three stayed for over an hour, chatting to staff.

“We have also had wider support at Holyrood and Westminster. MSP Neil Findlay, (Lab) proposed a motion in the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of the strike, and MP Owen Thompson (SNP) mentioned the strike in the debate on the Trade Union Bill.”

Prospect national secretary Tony Bell added: “Our members have not taken this decision lightly, but they feel they have no choice but to protest as their pay continues to fall behind other comparators.”