PCS launches legal action against Home Office over subs payment changes
Biggest civil service union targets Marsham Street after £3m DWP payout
Mark Serwotka Credit: PCS
The Public and Commercial Services union has launched a legal bid for compensation from the Home Office over the cancellation of a system that saw union subs automatically deducted from members paypackets and passed directly to its coffers.
Last year the PCS won a £3m payout from the Department for Work and Pensions following the 2015 termination of the “check-off” system of automatically deducting subscriptions from staff pay.
The out-of-court settlement came after two union members sued the department for compensation in the wake of a 2016 High Court ruling that check-off had been ended unlawrully because the move was not subject to proper consultation.
- PCS union wins £3m payout from DWP in check-off victory
- Whitehall reform ‘below the salt territory’ for too many mandarins, says Francis Maude
- Lord Kerslake "delighted" as government u-turns on union fee check-off
PCS collected 90% of its income via check-off when DWP and the Home Office – among other departments – stopped the system in a move linked to plans announced by the then Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude to end check-off for public sector workers under the trade union bill. PCS said the move was an an attempt to slash trade unions’ funding, saying it made it more complicated for members to sign up.
PCS’s financial records show it lost 37,000 members in 2015 – 16% of its total membership.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said seeking compensation from the Home Office was part of a systematic bid to make sure the union did not lose out financially after the ruling that the change had been unlawful.
“A deep moral and financial injustice was done to our members which was a deliberate attempt to bankrupt PCS,” he said.
"The unprecedented, multimillion-pound compensation payment we received is just the beginning of our fight for justice.
"The removal of check off was politically motivated, aimed at undermining the union’s ability to defend its members’ jobs and to effectively oppose the Tory government’s devastating austerity programme.
“Instead of negotiating with the union properly, ministers thought it more expedient to unlawfully target us financially.”
Civil Service World asked the Home Office for a response, but the department said it would be “inappropriate to comment” on potential legal proceedings.
Professionals’ union Prospect wades into row over government’s failure to reduce contribution...
Full details of new range of powers across five key areas
MPs to grill former communities secretary who is government’s preferred choice to lead anti-...
Civil service union claims victory as Sunak finds £2bn to tone down ‘tax trap’ that counts...
One in four workers in the UK has financial worries. In this article, Elaine Jefferys, Money...
How can local authorities and government departments ensure that civil servants are able to...
PA Consulting offers a four-point plan to delivering organisational transformation
BT takes a look at the shifting nature of cyber threats, and how organisations can detect and...