22 July 2021

From the President

Newly-elected group president, Dave Lunn, reflects on the key issues facing PCS members in HM Land Registry.

This is my first column in Progress magazine since being elected as PCS HM Land Registry group president in June.

Michael Kavanagh will be a hard act to follow, but what I have learnt working alongside him for more than a decade has given me the skills and experience to lead the group in what promises to be a challenging year ahead.

We face a period of uncertainty in HMLR. We are currently in talks on hybrid working, the way we respond to the removal of Covid restrictions, cultural change and Brilliant Teams. All of these things present change, but we have the opportunity to positively influence what these changes may look like. Hybrid working is possibly the biggest challenge that we face, but we now have union policy, agreed at PCS conference, which will guide us in talks. This will hopefully enable us to negotiate the most flexible outcomes for members whether working in the office or between home and the office.

We have also commenced discussions on an extension to the Business Strategy Agreement (jobs and offices) and the Working Practices Agreement (WPA). The talks are at a very early stage, but our priorities are to obtain assurances in respect our jobs and offices and to provide our members the best working experience possible.

The WPA has served us well over the last decade, but it is important that we deliver something that is fit for the way we work today. Fundamental to this will be the ability for our members to retain a degree of control over how they do their work. There is a recognition that we all need to make our maximum personal contribution, but it is accepted that this will vary from individual to individual. We are clear that there must not be any return to the culture of micro management and personal returns of the past. Instead we want to see a future where our members are supported to flourish without undue pressure, whilst helping HMLR to be more efficient and successful than ever. Members will be fully consulted on any proposals coming out of these talks.

Whilst the future is uncertain, there is a real opportunity to turn the challenges that we face into opportunities that can benefit our membership.

In the meantime, the noises coming out of Downing Street are worrying, as they indicate that public sector workers will be expected to pay the price for the Covid response. We are already subject to a pay freeze, but this is likely to be just he tip of the iceberg. This is a political choice rather than a financial necessity and is something that public sector workers should join together to oppose. I will be working closely with the national union to ensure that the voice of HMLR members is heard and to argue for a strategy capable of protecting and advancing the interests of our members, rather than just token protests.

The more members we have, the more influence we will have in both our bargaining work and our campaigns. I would urge all members to try and recruit any non-members to PCS to increase the chances of getting positive outcomes for us all, at a time of constant flux.