Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/16043
Courts Fines workers to strike on Thursday
Courts Fines Collection workers strike to stop sell-off
Support the campaign to stop the privatisation of criminal enforcement and the Ministry of Justice post room
PCS union MoJ group members working in criminal enforcement - court fines collection and administration - will walk out from 2pm to 4pm on Thursday, 31 January, in protest against plans to privatise their work.
A Crime and Courts Bill is currently progressing through parliament which threatens to outsource the collection of fines to private companies.
As well as members' huge concerns that outsourcing will result in cuts to their pay and conditions, the industrial action (the first in a 'rolling' programme of walk-outs) is designed to highlight the serious threats to this important public service;
- MoJ staff currently achieve over 90% collection rates - private bailiffs that already take on board some courts work have success rates around 20%.
- Citizens Advice Bureau and MPs' offices have been inundated in recent years with stories of harassment and pressure from private bailiff companies. The Bill will leave these companies still without effective statutory regulation.
- Currently civil servants are unable to access government (HM Revenue and Customs) personal data to trace clients or attach collection orders to earnings - incredibly the Crime & Courts Bill will grant these powers and access to data to private bailiff companies.
PCS represents the large majority of MoJ Criminal Enforcement staff. The ballot result showed 75% in favour of action, an increase of 6% on a ballot a few weeks earlier which had been challenged by the employer on a minor technicality.
PCS MoJ group president Kevin Greenway said: "The Ministry of Justice are clearly trying to carry out this ill-conceived privatisation as part of the government's programme to hand as much public sector work as possible to their friends in the corporate world.
"Our members have reacted with huge anger, and are showing they're prepared to fight against attempts to drive down their conditions.
"The strike will also bring to the public attention the massive waste of taxpayers money, and the threat to people's privacy and data protection, such outsourcing represents".
Several 'cluster centres' of Enforcement work will be having members' protest rallies at 2pm on Thursday to highlight their cause.
Contact your MP asking them to oppose this privatisation at www.pcs.org.uk/justicenotforsale
For more information go to the PCS MoJ web page or contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org