Page last updated at 11:35 GMT, Saturday, 11 April 2009 12:35 UK

Strike considered over pay freeze

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Qinetiq was floated on the stock market in February 2006

Workers at defence technology firm Qinetiq are considering strike action after hearing their pay is being frozen.

Unions said they were outraged by the pay freeze, which aims to cut costs.

The group employs more than 7,000 staff in the UK, with sites in Hampshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire, Portsmouth, Devon, Glasgow and Dorset.

QinetiQ confirmed that it was introducing a pay freeze, but declined to comment further.

The announcement was made by the group's chief executive Graham Love on Friday.

Prospect, the union for workers in the defence industry, said it was angry about the decision, which it claimed had come "out of the blue".

National secretary and chairman of the QinetiQ trade unions David Luxton said: "Despite calling me to an early morning briefing before the meeting, the company did not see fit to mention the impending announcement, even though we are now aware that managers had been briefed in advance.

"It is particularly galling that management had told the unions in early March that they would not be in a position to discuss pay until today and clearly this message was designed to ensure that staff continued to work hard in the last month of the financial year to deliver maximum revenues before 31 March."

He said all unions represented at QinetiQ were now seeking authority from their respective executive committees to ballot members for industrial action.

QinetiQ was created out of the former Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and floated on the stock market in February 2006, netting huge windfalls for its directors.

According to stock market legend, the company's odd name is a reference to the inventor Q in the James Bond films.

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