PCS calls on Cabinet Office to send clear message: ‘Work from home if you can.’

21 Dec 2020

General secretary Mark Serwotka today wrote to cabinet permanent secretary Alex Chisholm urging the government to issue more precise guidance to civil servants following the introduction of Tier 4 in London, South East and the East.

In the letter, Mark said: “The UK Government has stated that the new variant of Covid is up to 70% more infectious than the original strain and this is driving the increasing rates of infection in London and the South East. 

“We believe it is clear that as a matter of urgency all health, safety and home working arrangements must be reviewed in the Civil Service and associated areas.  

“Regarding the latter, a clear message that all staff who can work at home must now do so. Up to now, the Civil Service has caveated that message.” 

Mr Serwotka pointed out that many civil servants are having to conduct in person meetings with the public and that this should end.  

He said: “All face-to-face contact with the public should end. Therefore, DWP offices, courts, tribunals and other offices should close and the work done on line or by phone.  

“If that is not possible, as in parts of DVLA Swansea, the courts etc, then staff should be sent home on full pay.  

“This was done during the first lock down and given the worsening conditions at present, the same should be done now.” 

The PCS general secretary said if it was absolutely necessary to continue face-to-face interactions with the public, then the union should play a key role in reviewing all current health and safety measures that are in place.  

Mark concluded that members working in facilities management should also have their current health and safety arrangements reviewed with people being sent home on full pay if necessary.

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