After over a year of discussions, the Environment Agency has finally agreed on a deal with lock-keepers over workers' terms and conditions

The Environment Agency (EA) has finally come to an agreement with lock-keepers over workers’ terms and conditions following a lengthy discussion process.

In December 2008 the EA performed a spectacular U-turn over the proposed sell-off of Thames lock-keeper cottages following huge public outcry. Since then the EA has met with lock and weir-keepers and their union representatives on numerous occasions in a bid to draw up fresh contracts for all employees.

A statement released by the EA today says that these new employment contracts have now been agreed, which include:

– A new job profile for both residents and non residents with much clearer accountabilities

– Formalised standby and call-out arrangements for all residents and non residents

– Defined and agreed occupancy agreements for all residents, which clarify responsibilities of the EA and occupiers

– An agreed training and development framework, in the form of a logbook, for all staff, which sets out requirements concerning health and safety, technical skills and professional skills.

– The establishment of a regional waterways joint negotiating committee to help implement the changes.

Simon Hughes, EA Thames region west area manager, said, “We are confident we can now move forward together to concentrate on managing the river efficiently and effectively, delivering the services we provide when and where customers need them.”