PCS members escalate action over cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions

Tim Lezard

PCS J30 Faslane placardCivil servants working in immigration and asylum are today on strike as PCS escalates its action over cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions.

The union warns the strike across the Home Office will increase pressure on a department continually criticised for serious delays and backlogs.

Those taking action today include those trying to tackle backlogs in cases, and there will be strikes for the rest of the week in different areas of the Home Office and its agencies. It will not include border force staff at ports and airports, who will be taking action at a later date.

The strikes come as a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation aired last night focusing on these massive backlogs and as home secretary Theresa May is due to be questioned on the issue by a committee of MPs on Thursday.

And they are in response to Home Office senior managers first threatening to dock a full day’s pay for a planned half-day walkout alongside other civil servants on Friday 5 April, and a legal challenge to a departmental-wide planned 24-hour strike on Monday 8 April.

While the union’s members will still only each take 24 hours of strike action, the belligerent actions of senior officials means the department now faces days of industrial action and disruption instead of just the original half day.

The union has for years highlighted the problems caused by a lack of staff and resources in the Home Office and UK Border Agency, and ministers and officials have repeatedly been criticised by MPs for failing to get a grip on the backlogs in immigration and asylum cases.

These Home Office strikes form part of the union’s three-month national campaign of industrial action and protests over imposed cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions that included a half-day walkout

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “These strikes come as the department faces more scrutiny for its failure to support staff and the people who rely on the services they provide.

“While other civil service departments recognise our dispute is with a government that is refusing to negotiate with us, the Home Office appears to want to make it into a battle against its own workforce.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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