PCS remains committed to fighting hard for the job security of members working in government communications posts as the civil service pushes on with plans to centralise departmental communications.
The civil service wants a ‘single employer structure’ for communications to be ready by 1 April. This will mean staff possibly being transferred to this new structure on or shortly after that date. It could mean that those not in the new structure will be surplus, potentially leading to up to 4,500 job losses.
We met with the Cabinet Office on Tuesday (28) and asked for a guarantee that no one would be made redundant as a result of the new structure. We also sought clarity about the staffing model for the new structure and if it would include comms staff outside the civil service, such as non-departmental public bodies.
The Cabinet Office told us we would be consulted about the staffing model, which is being working upon, with an audit of comms staff currently underway. We were told there was no guarantee there wouldn’t be redundancies but there was a commitment that the civil service would work with the unions to avoid redundancies if possible.
We have asked that recruitment to comms teams, which is happening in some areas, is stopped as recruiting more staff into this area of work just increases the number of staff who may be made surplus.
We have also called for local consultation meetings to be arranged.
PCS is clear that there must be central talks; it cannot just be left to departments to engage with the unions as they have no control over the future shape of comms in the civil service.
We will oppose any diktat from central government that there must be a fixed number of comms staff for each department.
Staffing numbers should be determined by workloads, not by the prejudices of powerful figures in the Cabinet Office.
We would urge colleagues to join a union if they have not done so already.
To win changes to any proposals and save jobs, we will require a strong united collective voice and, if necessary, collective action by our members which we will fully support.