PCS is now in dispute with the Crown Prosecution Service following its failure to heed PCS’s calls to stop staff attending courts and tribunals until there are suitable and sufficient safety measures.
We made this call as a result of growing concern for the health, safety and welfare of our members deployed to court. Transmission of Covid-19 across the HMCTS estate continues to rise at an alarming rate and the failure of HMCTS to implement suitable and sufficient safety measures means that we can no longer support the requirement for physical court attendance on safety grounds.
Despite otherwise positive engagement on Covid-related matters, CPS management has refused to meet our reasonable request and maintains that courts and tribunals remain safe and Covid secure. Our repeated concerns that the vast feedback from members evidences that courts are not safe and that health and safety issues remain unresolved have not yet been satisfactorily answered. Although we note and recognise the employer’s support of our repeated advice to members in terms of self-removal if a member feels unsafe, the all-staff communication issued by the chief executive officer Rebecca Lawrence and director of public prosecution Max Hill on Friday (29 January) confirms the CPS stance in continuing to deploy staff to court.
PCS has issued a formal notice of trade dispute to the employer advising that we can no longer support the approach adopted. We have, from the outset, identified solutions including maximising remote arrangements as directed by the Lord Chief Justice.
While we remain committed to continuing to work with the employer to reach a resolution we have made it clear that the failure to reach an agreeable solution will result in the escalation of our dispute.
We will continue to update members on the progress of our negotiations. All members are asked to continue to raise all health and safety concerns as soon as possible, with their manager as well as with PCS. It is vital that any and all such concerns are reported to evidence the significance of the issues our members are experiencing at court.
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