Following strikes on 3-4 February, 27-28 February and 2 March, management at the Information Commissioner’s Office have imposed the disputed new pay offer on staff.
This is despite half the staff having refused to sign up to the offer on an individual basis and demanding they negotiate with the recognised unions.
The pay offer was improved slightly as a result of the strikes, but it remains far short of meeting PCS’s demand for a 5% or £1,200 increase in annual pay.
Management have been keen to draw a line under the dispute and move on by making vague promises about looking for ways to “jump the tracks” on pay next year. However, so far their strategy for achieving this appears to be to filibuster until the new European Data Protection Regulation comes into force, which will take several years.
In response to the imposed pay offer the PCS have extended their work to rule for eight weeks until the end of May.
Further industrial action may be considered depending on the situation after the general election and the willingness of any new government to address the issue of historically low pay at the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Picturehouse out to break union
After last year’s succesful strike at the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema in Brixton, union BECTU has been seeking union recognition at Clapham Picturehouse as well.
Picturehouse management have hired a “HR consultant” with a union-busting reputation to help them block BECTU recognition. Picturehouse is claiming that the “staff forum” is the recognised body for negotiations.
On Friday 17 April Picturehouse is opening a new £20 cinema in East Dulwich, South London.
BECTU activists are asking for people to join them in a protest outside the new cinema from 1 pm on Saturday 18 April.
Council workers vote to strike over outsourcing
Unison members working for Barnet Council have voted by 87% to strike over outsourcing.
The council agreed last month to outsource the “education, skills and school meals” department, libraries, early years children’s centres, adult social care and street scene services.
UNISON Branch Secretary John Burgess said “The vote was never in doubt. The workforce in Barnet is amazing and resilient. The vote confirms that that our members have had enough of the ideological obsession with outsourcing. The Council does not value the workforce which can be seen when unpaid overtime and long hours are never recognised when putting together bids for outsourcing projects. The fact that the Council refuses to run in-house comparators has made it clear to our members that their future employment with the Council is threatened.”
Care workers for outsourced service Your Choice Barnet are continuing their campaign against a 9.5% pay cut.
Barnet Unison and Barnet Alliance for Public Services are organising actions at libraries that are under threat.