Marion Lloyd, PCS Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy group president
PCS served notice to Acas on 11 April to start a programme of industrial action beginning with a work to rule on 25 April and a one-day strike on 11 May followed by further strikes at the beginning of June if the employer does not improve their offer to our Acas members.
The action is being taken in response to the employer’s transformation programme and in particular chronic staffing shortages, the downgrading of work and the removal of work out of London, leaving many members vulnerable and at risk of redundancy.
While there was welcome progress during talks last year, including assurances work would be retained in London and guarantees for members facing office closure in Liverpool, it was not enough to reassure conciliators that their work was not being downgraded and that there were proper trade union agreed job descriptions.
Talks have continued but so has the transformation programme. The excellent decision following the court case taken by Unison to remove tribunal fees has resulted in almost a trebling of work, plunging Acas into chaos as there are simply not enough trained staff to do the work.
Talks have produced minor concessions but it is still not enough to ensure there are enough trained staff at the right grade to deliver a key service, nor is it enough to reassure Acas members that there is a strategy for the future to protect jobs, grades, conditions and services.
The ballot result, which crashed through the Tory-imposed laws with a 65% turnout and 85% voting for action, shows the strength of feeling.
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