Immigration officers set strike date
THE CIVIL service union PCS warned last Wednesday that over 1,200 immigration officers could be taking part in a 24 hour strike on 5th August should further talks with UK Border Agency (UKBA) management fail in a dispute over job content, working practices and shift patterns.
Further talks are scheduled for this Friday aimed at resolving the dispute, which centres on plans by UKBA to force immigration officers to undertake duties and work performed by customs officers, as well as imposing changes to shift patterns which could see immigration officer’s wages cut.
Immigration officers are angry over moves by UKBA to force them to carry out duties which they weren’t employed for, such as strip searches and law enforcement duties, as the agency seeks to merge the jobs of customs officers and immigration officers.
The union isn’t against change but believes that immigration officers should be able to choose whether or not to undertake customs duties and will be pressing management for assurances on job roles, working practices and shift patterns.
The Home Office group executive section of the union which covers immigration officers will be on standby to meet in the event that talks produce an acceptable offer of settlement.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Immigration officers are angry at being forced to do a job that they weren’t recruited to do. We are not against change, but there needs to be a recognition that immigration and customs officers have separate specialist roles and duties"
PCS anger at job outsourcing
THE CIVIL service union PCS last Wednesday reacted angrily to the news that the Government intends to outsource more than 100 finance and IT jobs at the British Council to India as part of a massive cost-cutting exercise.
The decision to recruit local Indian workers to fill finance and IT posts has infuriated unions, who fear that this could be the blueprint for Whitehall.
It is believed to be the first time that the Civil Service or a quango has directly exported jobs to save costs. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which funds the British Council, is exploring similar options.
A spokesperson said that administrative jobs could be carried out by local staff in regional hubs overseas.
PCS said that the British Council decision went against Gordon Brown’s stated principle of “British jobs for British people” and could not be justified during a recession.
The council, which promotes British culture and language abroad, said that 500 of its 1,300 British workers would have to go in the next 18 months to save £45 million.
More than a fifth of these posts are to be filled in India and the body plans to bring some of the Indian recruits over to “shadow” finance staff in Manchester.