HMCTS Reform - Formal Dispute Briefing 2

07 Nov 2018

HMCTS Reform - Update from PCS

PCS notes the content of the Chief Executive’s message to staff issued on 7 November. PCS stands by its action and does not believe that a public debate at this point will be of much use to staff worried about their jobs, terms and conditions and their futures, we do however think it is important that our members understand two facts:

1.    PCS has been criticised for issuing a circular outside of the dispute resolution process, However, Susan’s message does not explain why your union took this decision. In circumstances, where a formal dispute has been registered, the Collective Engagement Framework states that “the status quo will apply until agreement is reached or the process is exhausted or the procedure is exhausted unless it is necessary for legal, safety, security or urgent operational reasons for management to take action” This is so members are not impacted by change during discussions.

PCS asked the employer to pause the HMCTS Reform Programme so far as it is impacted by the dispute. As Susan’s message confirms HMCTS made the decision not to pause. No good reason that meets the high-test set in the framework has been provided to PCS.   Pausing would have meant not requiring staff to apply for their own jobs, it would have meant a pause to external recruitment and it would have meant a short cessation of the project whilst we tried to reach an agreement on the fair treatment of staff.

In the circumstances PCS took the decision that communicating with our members was essential if they were not to be disadvantaged.   We gave HMCTS notice that we would depart from the normal embargo and why. We shared our communication in advance of circulation and did not use the GSI. All of this was within the spirit of the collective engagement framework and dispute resolution process. HMCTS did not reciprocate and of course the employer can communicate its message quickly and directly to every member of staff’s desktop.

2.    PCS has a clear mandate from thousands of our members under the MEP ballot, that has instructed us to protect the terms and conditions of members. This includes including working patterns for HMCTS staff in the proposed CTSC’s and across the estate. We have informed the employer that we will pursue all options open to us to protect members terms and conditions.

With that aim in mind we welcome the commitment to continue talks and look forward to making progress in this matter. We will keep members informed of progress and we now urge members and Branches to set up  workplace committees in every workplace to enable detailed communication between the union at every level as we go forward. Contact your local rep or email for more information.  

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