Tag Archives: EHRC

Next PCS Strike at EHRC on 6th June

PCS workers at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) are taking industrial action over planned cuts to their advice service. They have already held two 1 hour strikes, which were well attended and supported by Birmingham Against the Cuts amongst other local groups.

Their next strike will be on Monday 6th June, 11:30 – 12:30, Lancaster House, 67 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 1NA.

By taking regular but short strikes they will draw attention to how the cuts will affect the service and show a willingness to take further action, whilst minimising the disruption to people who desperately need to use the advice service provided.

Laura, who works at the office said:

I wanted to thank you all for your support over the industrial action that the EHRC has taken recently and to say that your support has enabled a wider audience to see what devastation the cuts are  to have in general for all disadvantaged individuals.
We will be seeking to send a delegation from Birmingham Against the Cuts to support this action, and hope that you will be able to join us, and the workers taking action to defend their public service.
Reports from previous strikes: 4th May & 11th May

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EHRC PCS Strike Report

The latest national ‘lightning’ strike at the Equalities and Human Rights Commission took place today, Wednesday 11th May, from 11am till mid-day. Strikers at the Birmingham office held a public protest outside the Lancaster House building on Great Charles Street, complete with banners and placards. They received frequent toots from passing motorists as they distributed their leaflets to passers-by. These leaflets reminded people that the EHRC is facing a 68% cut to its budget and a 66% cut to its staffing.
The PCS union, which has overwhelming support from its members for the action, stresses that it is about defending essential services for the public, for those who face discrimination and for those who face human rights abuses, as well as about protecting jobs. At 12pm the strikers marched back into work, to applause from their supporters gathered outside.
For more information about the strike, see our post here
 This protest will not be the last, and once again it sets an example to other people threatened by the cuts.
The protest was supported by Birmingham Against the Cuts, and the strikers will have a chance to put their case to the public meeting that it is holding on Thursday May 26th at the Council House.
With thanks to Bob Whitehead for the report and photographs

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Save the EHRC: West Mids Proposed Office Closure

Last week saw PCS members working at the EHRC on strike.  Their next day of action is a one-hour walkout  on 11 May at 11am –12pm.  We are now asking our partners to join us for this day of action in support of our campaign to save the Commission for future generations.

EHRC workers on strike last week

The government has already announced it is withdrawing funding for the commissions helpline and grants programme. the Commission has also decided to close its regional offices, including the office based in Birmingham covering the West Midlands Region. These decisions will take effect by March 2012.

At a time of unprecedented cuts that will hit the most vulnerable in society hardest I’m sure you’ll agree that it is vital to show the government that we will stand together to protect this vital service.

We will be assembling on 11 May 2011, 11am – 12pm at the rear entrance to the Commission’s Birmingham office, (EHRC 3rd Floor Lancaster House, 67 Newhall Street, B3 1NA) on the public footpath (on the corner).

The Commission is proposing to more than halve the number of staff from 460 to 200 within 12 months – PCS is calling on EHRC chair Trevor Phillips to reveal his plans for the future of the organisation, challenging him to define the ‘core functions’ which he claims will be protected. The government is currently consulting over the Commission’s future and is proposing to amend the Equality Act 2006 to strip the Commission of many of its key powers and duties.

When the Commission was formed in 2007 its budget was £70 million. This was later reduced to £60 million, then £53 million by the new government last year. The government now wants to cut funding down to £22.5 million by 2015.

Cuts on this scale would mean employers and public authorities would no longer be held to account if they carried out discriminatory policies, and would also effectively end the commission’s legal work – a recent example of which ensured six million carers in Britain are protected against discrimination in employment.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:

Our members are experts in their fields and this strike vote shows they are prepared to fight to maintain a proper national equality and human rights body at a time when government cuts are making it more likely people will face discrimination and disadvantage.

We do not accept the need for these cuts and the commission should talk to us urgently about the alternatives which would end the need for a strike and protect the vital services our members provide.

If you can’t join us on the day there are many other ways to support our campaign:

■ Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 923 to safeguard the remit, funding and staffing of the EHRC
■ Write to Theresa May MP, Minister for Women and Equality and other Minsters you or your organisation may have close links with asking them to maintain the EHRC functions servicing the communities.
■ Sign the petition http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43944.html. Please sign the online petition against EHRC cuts and ask your friends & family to sign.

PCS members on strike last week

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PCS and Connexions Strikes

Two strikes were held today in Birmingham, EHRC workers in PCS union held a strike from 11am-12noon, and Connexions workers in Unison from 1pm.

PCS Workers on strike

Around 40 people made up of PCS strikers and representatives from Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC), Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC), Birmingham Against the Cuts (BATC) and the Right to Work Campaign held a lively picket in Birmingham today. Workers were striking against the proposed 68% cuts and 66% cuts in staff at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The picket was recieved well from passing traffic beeping their horns in support as well as receiving messages of support and solidarity from Connexions UNISON workers who are also on strike today against 30% cuts in staff in their service.

Hundreds of Connexions workers held vibrant and active pickets outside the remaining offices of the city. In April the Con-Dem council approved a 30% cut for Connexions placing 36 jobs, including advisers on the front line at risk.
Connexions Centres in Handsworth, Erdington and Aston have already been closed despite an alarming 40% increase in unemployment amongst young people in the city. Striking workers made their way to Victoria Square in the city centre on a double decker UNISON bus.
John Griffin the convenor for UNISON members in Connexions said: “We need to remember that young people and Connexions workers are now paying with their jobs and future prospects for the debts of bankers earning massive bonuses.

“Birmingham City Council has set a budget which puts these jobs at risk. Another solution needs to be found for the sake of the young people threatened with a lifetime of joblessness.”

The rally was also addressed by Graeme Horn, Birmingham UNISON Branch Secretary, Jagdish Singh a PCS representative from the Equality and Human Rights Commission who were today also on strike opposing 68% cuts in their service and the Birmingham City Council Labour group leader, Sir Albert Bore.

With thanks to Geoff Dexter for both the reports and photographs.  More photos from both strikes can be seen on his Flickr page.  If you would like to make use of them, please contact him.

Reports from previous Connexions strikes can be found on our Connexions tag

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PCS members at EHRC Birmingham to strike

Workers at Equality and Human Rights Commission offices across the country will walk out for an hour from 11am to 12 noon on Wednesday 4 May and again on Wednesday 11 May.

They are protesting over restructuring, job losses and a 55% budget cut that will set back 30 years of work promoting and improving equality.

In Birmingham there will be a picket at the back of Lancaster House, 67 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 1NA;

Around the country, other offices will walk out at the Arndale Centre, Corporation Street, Manchester, M4 3AQ; at the back of 155-171 Tooley street, London, SE1 2JP;  at 3 Callaghan Square, Cardiff, CF10 5BT; at the Optima building, 58 Robertson street. Glasgow. G2 8DU

Messages of support should be sent to savetheehrc@gmail.com

Connexions workers will also be striking on the 4th, so anyone free that day can get along to both pickets to show their solidarity, and also join us tomorrow for the Save our Services Mayday demonstration.

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Save the Equality and Human Rights Commission

The EHRC has provided the basis for legal challenges to cuts in Birmingham recently and threats to the services provided by PCS in giving legal advice will have a much broader reach than might first appear.

You can download the above flyer as a PDF here

Direct links to the petition, Facebook Page and to write a letter to your MP

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