We’re preparing for a month-long strike by outsourced cleaners and attendants in Royal Parks, which will begin on 1 October. That’s a significant escalation, so we’re also launching a new drive to fundraise for the strike fund. We’ll need active solidarity from our own branches, especially in London, and from the wider movement to help the strike win.
Strategic discussions are ongoing within our branch at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea. There’s a strong resolve to launch a new ballot, but detailed discussions are taking place about exactly how that ballot should be organised, whether all workers should be balloted in a single ballot, or whether the ballot should be disaggregated between different groups of workers at the complex.
Our reps for driving examiners have been phone-banking and speaking to all members to get the vote out in their ballot for industrial action against an increase to their workload.
In the coming weeks, we’re aiming to organise meetings of reps from a number of government departments to discuss the “back-the-office” push. Workers in departments such as HMRC are now coming under more pressure to resume working from the office. Depending on the outcome of those meetings, we could see increased campaigning and possible ballots over this issue.
I’ve also been working on some legal campaigning around the issue of indirect discrimination. Previous Tribunal cases we’ve taken over this issue have established that, if it can be shown that a particular policy or practice by an employer amounts to indirect discrimination, it’s not necessary to show exactly what it is within that practice that causes the discrimination, simply that it has that effect. We want to use that legal precedent to mount new legal challenges over this issue. I’m coordinating correspondence to all civil service departments asking for statistics about how various HR policies impact workers in terms of race and gender, and we’ll actively pursue legal challenges in cases where policies are having a discriminatory impact on BAME and women workers.
Obviously we can’t rely on the legal system to win lasting change, but legal challenges can be an important supplement to industrial campaigning.