Magistrates staff strike for better pay

Thousands of workers in Magistrates courts are walking out today after refusing to accept pay devaluation, rejecting a below-inflation rise.

Submitted by Steven. on December 20, 2005

Over 8,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are set to walk out for the day. Magistrates courts could be closed as a result, and cases postponed.

Sister union Prospect, which represents support, administration and security staff, is also calling a strike.

The unions are angry at a proposed 2.2 per cent pay rise – which they say is below the inflationary rise in the cost of living.

But the Department of Constitutional Affairs insists the pay offer is worth an average of 3.7 per cent, with those at the top of their pay scale getting 2.2 per cent and others getting 5.2 per cent.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said that staff were no longer prepared to accept pay devaluation.

"Low pay is a major factor throughout the courts, with 55 per cent of admin staff working in magistrates courts outside London earning less than £14,000 per year," Mr Serwotka said.

"Staff are no longer prepared to see their pay devalued with below inflation cost of living increases and management needs to seriously engage with the union to ensure that the important contribution of staff is recognised with fair pay."

The strike will be the first such action in the court service for 800 years. It is unclear how many courts will be affected by the strike or how many cases will be delayed.

Edited from by libcom