Socialist Worker

Wider action needed after forced sackings by EHRC

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have sacked ten workers with only a days notice while they were on strike against budget cuts and redundancies

Issue No. 2541

 

Manchester protest

Manchester protest in response to the forced redundancies (Pic: Martin Empson)


Ruthless bosses at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) sacked ten workers—including union reps—by email while they were striking last week.

The ten workers were told they had been made redundant with just a day’s notice and were made to clear their desks when they returned to work.

At least two of those made redundant—Finola Kelly from the London office and Zahid Nawaz from Birmingham—were PCS union reps.

PCS members working for EHRC have struck a number of times, including on Thursday of last week, against budget cuts and redundancies.

Zahid said the compulsory redundancy notices were “unprecedented”. He added, “This is clearly targeted action by the employer.

“There is a culture of trade union victimisation in EHRC and this is it coming to a head. The EHRC don’t want PCS and Unite in the workplace.”

In Birmingham bosses told the other EHRC workers to stay at home while the sacked workers cleared their desks because it would be “upsetting” for them.

Supporters

Workers and their supporters protested outside EHRC offices in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff in response to the redundancies.

As many as 200 people joined the protest in Glasgow, including members of other unions—GMB, Unite and Unison.

PCS union general secretary Mark Serwotka said the redundancies were “reprehensible” and that the union would “continue to fight” them.

PCS president Janice Godrich also said the union would “continue to support these members until justice is restored.”

Two further strikes are planned on 10 and 20 March, and two more in April and May.

But it will take a serious escalation to force bosses to reinstate the sacked workers.

Workers in other civil service departments such as the DWP also face redundancies, with office closures threatening jobs.

The PCS has a policy of balloting its members across the civil service if compulsory redundancies are announced. The union should follow this policy now.

Please send messages of support to londonbargaining@pcs.org.uk

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