On Thursday 12 March, the union will be meeting the Cabinet Office to discuss workers’ rights in the Covid-19 pandemic.
We’ll be putting a number of demands to them, including the right for workers to walk off the job if they feel themselves to be at risk of infection, and that people with underlying health conditions are moved away from public-facing work.
We’re also demanding that the government ensures the companies to which it outsources various work pay full company sick pay from day one of any sickness, and that any outsourced workers who have to self-isolate are fully paid. If the employer doesn’t agree to these demands, the union will have to issue its own advice.
Outsourced cleaners in HMRC offices in Mersyeside and Birmingham are gearing up for further strikes this month, in their dispute to win living wages and improved conditions. Directly-employed HMRC staff, in a telephony centre in Bootle, are also balloting, over workload and management bullying. Their ballot closes on 20 March.
On 11 March, the union is meeting Interserve to discuss the dispute at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Our members there are absolutely determined to escalate their action if the employer doesn’t concede.
On 5 March, I spoke at the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign demonstration in central London. We have formally backed the campaign as a union, and issued a statement about the oppression of the Uyghur people on our website.
We’ll continue to raise the issue and will aim to mobilise PCS members for future demonstrations and actions.
• John Moloney is Assistant General Secretary of PCS, writing here in a personal capacity