12 Days Remaining

Tuesday 13th
posted by Will Stone in Britain

CIVIL servants protested outside the equality watchdog’s HQ last night as they staged their third 24-hour strike against dozens of New Year staff cuts.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is preparing to issue compulsory redundancy notices from January to 24 staff — half of whom are disabled.

In response, members of public-sector union PCS mounted picket lines outside EHRC offices across the country.

They also held a protest at the commission’s London offices in Salisbury Square from 5pm as it held an event to mark International Human Rights Day.

The union says the cuts risk leaving the commission “toothless” and could threaten its UN-accredited status as a human rights body.

PCS full-time officer Lois Austin told the Star that 12 of the compulsory redundancies are disabled staff, nine are trade union reps and nine are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

She said: “These compulsory redundancies come despite the commission having 39 vacancies, all relevant roles, which the staff could fill.

“The commission pays over £1 million a year to private consultants, so these supposed budget constraints don’t ring true.”

The 24-hour walkout follows two strikes last month.

Members of Unite working for the EHRC were also out on strike.

Unite’s Siobhan Endean said: “In an era of rising hate crime and discrimination we need an EHRC that has the resources and experienced staff that can enforce the Equality Act.”

An EHRC spokeswoman said: “Our event tonight celebrates the important work we carry out and will continue to do under our new working model.”