Almost 90% civil servants opposed to returning to workplaces until it is safe to do so

15 May 2020

PCS is overwhelmingly opposed to returning to unsafe workplaces, a new survey has shown.  

12,000 members responded to the survey with 88% saying they are opposed to any return to normal working until it is safe to do so.  

83% of members strongly support the union’s campaign on coronavirus health and safety which includes proper safeguarding measures agreed with the union and put in place for anyone who attends a workplace.

The new survey results follow head of the civil service Mark Sedwill’s message that “apart from the shielded groups, those who cannot work from home– and are not already operating from their workplace – are being encouraged to return to work.” 

The announcement was contrary to discussions that the union has been having with the Cabinet Office, ensuring that as many people as possible can work from home.  

Mr Sedwill’s message also failed to make a distinction between advice provided to England and the devolved nations. 

Responding to the survey, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The view of the union is simple, no one should be returning to the workplace until it is safe to do so.  

“The survey shows that civil servants are extremely concerned about the spread of Covid-19 and the union will always insist that trade union health and safety reps are involved in any proposed plan to return people to any workplace. 

“Civil servants have made enormous sacrifices to help people receive benefits, file tax returns, access furlough funds and keeping our borders secure.  

“66%, according to our survey, are successfully working from home and we would like to see this figure increased by rolling out technology to allow our members to work safely. 

“The government must work with trade unions and stop demonizing them in the media for doing the job their members pay for them to do – to ensure that when they go to work, they come back home safely.” 

We are in the process of developing a set of health and safety tests to make sure workplaces are safe to return to. 

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