26 May 2022

PCS wins again

Group Secretary Mike Jones on our latest legal landmark.

In March PCS won another stunning victory in the High Court against the Home Office on the issue of check-off subscriptions. It follows a similar victory against the Department for Work and Pensions, who were forced to pay the union £3 million in damages.

Many members will recall in 2014 the Home Office removed their ability to pay their subs through their wage slips and were forced to move to paying through direct debit.

PCS made it absolutely clear to the Home Office when they threatened to remove check-off that we believed it was unlawful and we would take them to court. Despite these warnings, senior managers within Home Office went ahead and removed this facility from members, threatening the very existence of PCS.

There was no rational reason to remove the facility. PCS believes that it was a politically motivated attack designed to bankrupt the union by cutting off its subscription income. This was because of the leading role that our union played in the fightback against the Cameron/Osborne/Clegg austerity regime.

At a High Court hearing held on 3 March 2022 at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Choudhury upheld our arguments. He declared that our members had a contractual right to check off and that in removing it, the Home Office had breached our members’ contracts and that PCS was entitled to redress.

The case against the Home Office will now proceed to a remedy hearing to determine the amount of damages that the Home Office must pay to PCS. We have a series of further claims against other government departments due to be heard by the High Court later in the year.

The withdrawal of the check off facility was an attempt to destroy our union. We have beaten off this attack and we are now securing redress. PCS will continue to fight and campaign on behalf of our members undeterred by government threats and intimidation.

Our message to all Home Office staff remains the same: join the union and get involved.