Members of the country’s largest union, Unite working for the Equality and Human Rights Commission have overwhelmingly voted for strike action over swingeing cuts it was announced today (Friday 14 October).
100 per cent of members voting backed strike action in the ballot over the restructuring of the organisation following government cuts of 25 per cent. Unite is warning that the latest round of cuts will lead to less support for victims of discrimination and undermine the EHRC’s ability to effectively challenge hate crime at a time when it’s on the rise.
The 25 per cent cut over the next four years will lead to fewer caseworkers supporting victims of discrimination and the closure of the commission’s offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Newcastle.
The Unite vote follows a vote in favour of industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union working at the commission.
Commenting Unite national officer Siobhan Endean said: “Our members believe these cuts are a step too far and have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.
“The latest round of cuts will have a devastating impact, not only on our members, but on the vital services that the commission provides and on its ability to deliver its mandate to enforce the law and protect human rights.
“The commission’s ability to take forward its programme of work in key areas such as pregnancy and maternity discrimination, as well as its planned assessment of the impact of changes to the welfare system, will be significantly undermined and its future role in enforcing compliance with new gender pay gap reporting curtailed.
“The commission and the government need to think again, step back from these savage cuts and stop trying to force dedicated staff out of the organisation through compulsory redundancy.”
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Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.