Met Office staff to strike jeopardising weather forecast predictions

Staff to strike for first time ever in dispute over pay

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Snow Hits Parts Of The UK

Met Office staff are set to go on strike this week for the first time ever - compromising the accuracy of the weather forecast.

Hundreds of Prospect union members at the company's Exeter headquarters will walk out for three hours on Thursday afternoon in protest against a pay freeze.

The union believes the company should be able to pay fair market rates to retain and recruit skilled staff.

Prospect has 950 members at the weather service, and warned the action might bring disruption. Speaking to the Times, a Prospect spokesman said: "It might affect the accuracy of the modelling of the forecasting because there won't be anyone around to fix the model during the strike if it breaks down.

"Most of our members are the specialists. The chances of anything going wrong during that period are not high but it is a possibility."

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Gordon Hutchinson, the lead Prospect representative, added: "This is unprecedented; no one can remember the last time people went on strike here over pay - it must be decades ago.

"It shows how strongly people feel about a government pay policy completely at odds with what the prime minister advocates for the private sector. David Cameron says successful businesses should give their staff a pay rise, but won't allow the Met Office freedom to manage its own reward system."

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