22 March 2022

British Council members striking against redundancies this week

PCS members at the British Council are this week taking strike action over plans to make more than 200 workers redundant. 

We also have concerns over restructuring and outsourcing at the organisation, which promotes the English language and British culture overseas. 

Members in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester are striking on Thursday and Friday (24 and 25 March). They will be joined by members in workplaces across the globe, including in Bogota and Baghdad. 

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The British Council states its role is to ‘build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts, culture, education and the English language’. Now is the time to strengthen international ties, not cut them.” 

British Council staff ran the successful EU student exchange programme Erasmus, but when it was replaced by the Turing Scheme, the government gave the contract to Capita, resulting in more job losses. 

PCS has accused the government of a lack of transparency because it has refused to share the business case for the redundancies. 

And when the union asked to meet CEO Scott McDonald – who earns £250,000 a year – he refused. 

You can support the strikers by visiting their picket lines from 7.30am to 10.30am at:

  • 1 Redman Pl, London E20 1JQ
  • 58 Whitworth St, Manchester M1 6BB
  • 2-4 Waterloo Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3EG
  • The Boat, 49 Queen's Square, Belfast BT1 3FG
  • 1 Kingsway, Cardiff CF10 3AQ

You can also show your support by:

  • Signing our public petition
  • Emailing the foreign secretary, Liz Truss
  • Contacting your MP and asking them to sign our Early Day Motion
  • Sharing your support on social media #HandsOffBritishCouncil
  • Contacting PCS to offer your support to our campaign.