Charity Commission staff to join Budget day strike over pay and pension cuts

The action, organised by the Public and Commercial Services Union, will take place on 20 March

Strike at the Charity Commission in 2011
Strike at the Charity Commission in 2011

Charity Commission staff are to take part in a strike over cuts to pay and pensions on 20 March.

Kevin Broad, secretary of the commission’s Public and Commercial Services Union branch in London, said he expected most of the commission’s PCS members to take part in the strike. He said PCS members represented about a third of the commission’s 309 members of staff in four offices in England and Wales.

The PCS has organised the strike action to coincide with this year's Budget. The action is to protest against cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions and is expected to involve thousands of civil servants from the civil service and government agencies.

When the PCS, which has 270,000 members, organised a strike on 30 November 2011, the union said 246 out of the commission’s 370 staff took part. According to members of the PCS and the FDA, the union for senior civil servants, only about 25 of the commission’s 80 London staff turned up for work. The commission confirmed that its contact centre in Liverpool was closed on the day.

Broad said he hoped for a similar turnout on 20 March. "We hope the support will be up to the usual standard, but until the day it’s quite hard to know."

Although the commission’s PCS branch in London is yet to finalise plans for the day, Broad said "half a dozen or so" members were likely to constitute a picket line at the commission’s new office in Pimlico, London, where the regulator is to move next week.

"We may be coordinating something with other union branches," he said. "It depends on what is being organised, but in the past we have tended to move from the picket line from about 10am to join other rallies or events."

The strike on 20 March is the start of a programme of events due to be organised by the PCS, the union said. Dates for further national and group strikes, including half days and short walkouts, will be announced at a later date. 

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, said: "This is not a one-day protest; this is the start of a rolling programme of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a government that is refusing to talk to us."

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said it would work to minimise any disruption.

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