PCS has told the Cabinet Office we are not prepared to accept attempts to force more civil servants back into work without detailed assurances about how their safety will be ensured if they have to return to their workplace.
The head of the civil service Alex Chisholm has written to all permanent secretaries this week to say that after Boris Johnson’s speech to the nation urging people back into work the civil service needed to see an acceleration of people returning to work.
We told the Cabinet Office in a meeting yesterday that this was completely unacceptable. That demand is not based on our members’ health and safety, or on helping our economy, it is based entirely on political pressure being exerted by some Tory MPs who are demanding that the civil service is used as an example to get everybody back to work.
People should only go back to work when it is safe to do so. Everyone’s health and safety must be the top priority. We told the Cabinet Office that we weren’t prepared to accept this and they agreed to a meeting next week to start looking at the type of things that can be done to ensure that everyone can be safe. Further talks will take place next week.
Our advice to members is clear, if you are working from home and you get approached by anyone in your department asking you to now go back to work, don’t just accept that’s what you have to do.
We are determined, having come so far in this pandemic and having done so well to deliver public services, that we do not throw away members’ safety because of the demands of politicians.
We will issue more advice next week and you can get more guidance and support, and get your questions answered, at our Facebook live event at 7pm on Thursday (30). Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
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