Economic forecasters to strike

Economic forecasters and researchers at world-famous economic institute to strike in a row over inflation

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Economists and researchers at the world famous NIESR (National Institute of Economic and Social Research) will stage a two week strike in a row over two years of below inflation pay offers.

The strike begins on Friday, January 21 and ends on Friday, February 4.

The action means that there is a very real possibility that the forthcoming forecasts for the UK and global economies, which have been published quarterly since the 1980s, will not go ahead. NIESR staff will be unable to deliver on project work for external partners and funders, and will be unable to participate in events and other dissemination activities.

The RPI reached 7.1 per cent at the end of 2021 but NIESR bosses are sticking to their decision to give staff 0% for 2020-21 and just 2% for 2021-22.  The pay offer fails to keep up with the rising cost of living and represents a significant pay cut in real terms.

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham said, “Staff at the NIESR know full well that a pay freeze combined with a pay offer well below inflation is not good enough. Like many workers across the country the economists and researchers are increasingly concerned about the cost of living.  Unite is determined to fight for workers’ pay, terms and conditions. The staff at the NIESR have their union’s full support.”

Unite Regional Officer, Peter Storey added, “Unite is committed to reaching an agreement with the NIESR but the Institute needs to improve its pay offer. Morale is at an all-time low, so it’s high time for management to recognise the contribution NIESR’s staff have made to the Institute’s success through difficult times.

“The strike will disrupt a number of research contracts and forecasts for the UK and the global economy. We urge management to join Unite in talks this week and avoid this dispute.”

The latest ONS RPI figure (November 2021) is 7.1 per cent while the the ONS CPI figure is 5.1 per cent.  Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham has said that the union will continue to base claims on the RPI figure rather than CPI because it better reflects the actual price rise experienced by Unite members.

By Ciaran Naidoo

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