The Charity Commission will close its contact centre today because of strikes among its staff – which, according to a union official, could be up to 70 per cent of the regulator's workforce.
A statement from the regulator said it did not know how many employees would join the strike, part of the wider public sector strike taking place today. The statement said, however, that it would close its contact centre for the day because of anticipated staff shortages.
A Public and Commercial Services Union representative from the commission, who asked not to be named, said about 70 per cent of the regulator's employees were members of the union and it had encouraged all of them to join the strike.
He said the commission's proposed restructure, prompted by a reduction in its budget of more than a quarter, from £29.3m in 2010/11 to £21.3m in 2014/15, had caused unrest among staff.
"Staff understand that the government has imposed spending cuts on the commission, but there is anger about the way in which it is proposing to make those cuts," he said.
"The cuts are hitting hardest the people who are involved with the day-to-day business of supporting charities and investigating them. Only two directors have left."
He said wider civil service issues, such as pension changes and pay freezes, would "probably have been enough alone to bring staff out on strike", but that the commission's own decisions about its restructure would reinforce this.
Asked about the likely impact of the strike, he said: "There will be backlogs in the processing of incoming queries and correspondence."
The commission issued a statement saying: "We have contingency plans in place to manage reduced staffing due to strike action and we expect all our three main sites to be operational. Our online services, which are available 24/7, will operate as normal."