Members of the Unite trade union working for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will be taking part in the first of two one-day strikes tomorrow (Wednesday 9 November), after talks over the implementation of ‘swingeing’ cuts broke down.
Unite members will be joining colleagues from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union in the stoppage, with a further one-day strike scheduled for Wednesday 16 November. The strike action follows a mismanaged restructuring exercise with the continued threat of compulsory redundancies.
Members are fearful that the cuts over the next four years will lead to less support for victims of discrimination and undermine the watchdog’s ability to effectively challenge hate crime at a time when it’s on the rise.
The 25 per cent cuts will see caseworkers and other frontline staff supporting victims of discrimination axed and the closure of the commission’s offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Newcastle.
Commenting Unite national officer Siobhan Endean said: “The EHRC’s chief executive needs to step back from the threat of compulsory redundancies and savage cuts which will force dedicated staff out of the organisation.
“These latest cuts will leave the commission toothless and unable to deliver its mandate to enforce the law and protect human rights.
“The closure of offices and cutting of case workers will restrict access to support and justice for those suffering discrimination, as well as undermining the watchdog’s ability to take forward its work programme.
“Our members will be striking to defend the vital services they deliver and the ability of the commission to challenge hate crime and discrimination.”
There will be picket lines outside the EHRC’s offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Manchester.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
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.
Picket line addresses:
- Birmingham – Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B2 4AJ
- Cardiff - Block 1, Spur D, Government Buildings, St Agnes Rd, Gabalfa, Cardiff CF14 4YJ
- Glasgow - 151 West George Street, Glasgow G2 2JJ
- London - Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London EC4Y 8JX
- Manchester - Arndale House, The Arndale Centre, Manchester, M4 3AQ