IMPACT’s Agriculture No.1 branch has secured a new agreement on recruitment, revised working practices and other matters for agriculture department technical officers. The negotiations, which took a year to conclude, covered a wide range of issues including the recruitment of new officers, promotions to supervisory and superintendent posts, flexibility agreements and managing inspections and field work.
IMPACT national secretary Andy Pike said the agreement resolved the uncertainty over the future for technical staff by outlining their future role. “We are now seeing significant fresh recruitment in the entry grade and genuine career progression for experienced staff for the first time in many years. The agreement secures our technical management structures and clearly provides for the management of technical staff by senior technical grades,” he said.
The deal will also result in the allocation of inspection duties to technical staff in multi-disciplinary teams, whilst maintaining existing career structures. “
We expect to see this progress maintained, and to see technical numbers rise from the current all-time low back to acceptable levels. I am very pleased that the department has recognised the vital role technical staff carry out in the regulation of the agri-food sector. They are needed like never before because Brexit will require more technical staff to cope with changes in regulation, and to safeguard against risks to the safety and integrity of the food chain,” said Andy.