2 in 3 civil service departments not enforcing social distancing measures – PCS survey suggests.

25 Mar 2020

Two thirds of government departments have not introduced social distancing measures at work, despite the Covid-19 pandemic – a survey of PCS members has found.

67% of civil servants have said their workplace has enacted no social distancing measures and a nearly a quarter of workplaces haven’t issued sickness absence guidance.

The union along with other public sector unions has been involved in regular discussions with the Cabinet Office in a bid to work collaboratively to solve all outstanding health and safety issues in government departments.

The survey of 15,000 members also found that 13% are dissatisfied and 15% are very dissatisfied (28%) with their employer’s approach to Corona pandemic and more than 3 in 20 (16%) have said there are not clear handwashing policies being implemented at work.

The union has received hundreds of messages from members who have been encountering a lack of basic cleaning products to maintain hygiene in the workplace, including in some cases no soap in the restrooms.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This pandemic presents many challenges for our members and they should be supported in their vital work helping people access Universal Credit, keeping our justice system running, helping self-employed people access money and protecting our borders.

“The legacy of austerity must be addressed and the government must invest in staff to fight the coronavirus and ensure that our members are safe at work.

“We are having productive discussions with the Cabinet office and we expect these issues our members have raised to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.”

The most important priority for staff according to the survey:

*75% Prevention of infection (social distancing and home working)

· 81% prevention of infection for those in public facing roles

· 82% procedures if there is an outbreak at work

· 81% rights to sick pay

· 80% special arrangements for staff with pre-existing conditions

· 79% procedures for members with caring responsibilities.

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