PCS is balloting members in HM Courts and Tribunals Service over management’s failure to act to address serious and significant health and safety concerns.
Given that we have not yet had a commitment from HMCTS to resolve the issues we have outlined we are escalating the dispute and balloting members, with a statutory postal ballot starting on Monday (15) of members in 12 courts asking them if they would be prepared to strike over workplace safety concerns.
We are also launching an online consultative ballot for all HMCTS members whose workplace is not one of these 12 courts. This ballot runs from 22 February to noon on 15 March.
We ran an online consultative survey of members in some workplaces. The results of which confirm that members are in support of the PCS demands and are willing to take industrial action:
- The immediate closure of all courts and tribunals in England, Wales and Scotland to provide an immediate circuit break on the transmission of the virus in the community and the HMCTS estate.
- A reversion to the delivery of critical business priorities identified in the HMCTS business continuity plan with prioritisation of those activities that can be delivered remotely using digital working and virtual hearings.
- An agreement on exceptional and completely voluntary working arrangements for attendance at workplaces to deliver business critical work that cannot be deferred and cannot be delivered remotely.
- Provision of sufficient additional IT equipment to maximise opportunities for remote working for all HMCTS employees.
- A suspension of recovery planning including plans to increase capacity until there is an agreed timetable for the safe resumption of recovery work. Safe resumption of work will include: a. access to regular testing b. low transmission rates within the community c. decreased pressure on the NHS.
- A suspension of the reform programme to take account of impacts created by the pandemic and agreement in advance of recommencement
- Introduction of increased safety measures including a trade union side-agreed risk assessment
- An equality impact assessment on HMCTS Covid-19 arrangements.
We are balloting members in the following workplaces until noon on 5 March:
- Birmingham Crown Court
- Cardiff Crown Court
- Highbury Magistrates' Court
- Isleworth Crown Court
- Leeds Magistrates' Court
- Leicester Law Courts
- Liverpool Law Courts
- Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square
- Manchester Crown Court, Minshull Street
- Snaresbrook Crown Court
- Southwark Crown Court
- Wolverhampton Combined Court.
If your workplace is listed, speak to colleagues who aren’t PCS members and encourage them to join. All new members who join before midnight on 19 February will be eligible to vote.
It is vital that members vote in these ballots as the results will inform the next steps of our industrial dispute and send the strongest possible message to HMCTS that they must act to address the issues we have escalated
Members’ Zoom meetings have been arranged to talk through our industrial strategy, provide an update on negotiations and give members the opportunity to speak to the PCS team. Members will need to register online for these meetings. We strongly encourage all members to join a meeting, your input is invaluable.
We have made clear to HMCTS that our trade dispute will continue to exist until our demands are met. We remain committed to working to reach a resolution to the dispute and we will prioritise dispute resolution talks.