PCS ICO picket, 26.2.15, photo by Hugh Caffrey

PCS ICO picket, 26.2.15, photo by Hugh Caffrey   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

ICO staff on strike for fair pay

Hugh Caffrey

PCS members working at the Information Commissioners Office in Wilmslow, Cheshire, are escalating their campaign of strike action for fair pay.

Top management are awarding themselves pay rises of up to 18%, while insisting that when it comes to pay for ordinary staff members then money is hard to come by! Workers have been offered 3% in return for giving up pay progression.

Rightly this insult has been rejected with over half of staff refusing to sign management’s letters accepting this imposed ‘offer’. 95% of PCS members began a three-day strike on 26 February with the largest-ever picket lines at the site, defying the pouring rain!

PCS ICO picket placard, 26.2.15, photo by Hugh Caffrey

PCS ICO picket placard, 26.2.15, photo by Hugh Caffrey   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Paddy Dillon, PCS branch secretary, told me:

“We’re on strike to demand fair pay at all grades at the ICO because we’ve seen our three most senior executives get average pay rises of 11%, between 8 and 18% that is, while they’ve offered ordinary staff a deal that’s within the 1% Treasury pay cap.

“It’s clearly unfair that senior executives are giving themselves these huge rises while everyone else is being told they don’t deserve a pay rise in line with other organisations that are comparable to the ICO.

“There’s a lot of anger on this, support’s really strong, we’ve seen our membership rise in the last few weeks to support the strike action.

“It’s gone really well, the two-day strike at the start of February was extremely well supported, 95% of members were on strike, and today looks absolutely solid too.

“We’ve got bigger picket lines than ever, momentum’s all building the right way. We’ve just got to get management to accept that they’ve got to negotiate properly with us, not just try to impose a deal that’s so inadequate.

“We’ve got the three-day strike beginning today and on Monday it’s going to coincide with the ICO’s Data Protection Conference in Manchester which is a huge annual event with 750 delegates.

“We’re going to lobby that conference and meet the delegates, we’ve got leaflets designed to inform them of the ICO pay dispute, and the disparity between our staff and the acceptable pay rates on offer elsewhere. That’s going to be massive, and it’ll put ICO pay in the spotlight.”

  • Send messages of support to [email protected]
  • Join the lobby: Monday 2 March, 8-10am, Manchester Central Convention Centre (GMEX), Manchester city centre.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 26 February 2015 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.