Public and Commercial Services Union
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Forced moves to cut costs will be opposed
The government risks playing politics with public sector workers' lives with its latest plans to move more civil servants out of London and the south east.
While relocating public sector jobs can help regenerate less economically active regions of the UK, PCS members have learned the hard way that it is often a thinly disguised attack on jobs, wages and services.
At the Office for National Statistics, for example, management was publicly criticised for failing to maintain the quality of its service following a move from central London to Newport in south Wales. Estimates have suggested the move will take a staggering 25 years to pay for itself.
As a result of the Lyons review to move public sector workers out of the capital, tens of thousands of jobs have been cut and hundreds of offices closed.
Before any further relocations are planned, the government must consider very carefully the disproportionately negative impact relocation has on black workers.
London has the highest black and minority ethnic population in the UK. But in the past the government has been reluctant to carry out its legal duty to assess the policy’s impact on BME workers before any changes are made, and PCS has successfully challenged relocations on that basis.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "We are not against relocation on principle, but it should only be done where it makes sense to improve services to the public.
"We will vigorously oppose any compulsory relocations that seek only to meet arbitrary cost-cutting targets to suit a political agenda.
"In its haste to outflank the Tories, it would be a disgrace if the Labour government tried to ignore its obligations under the law to fully assess the impact of any relocation on black workers.
"It is worth remembering that London and the south east also need good quality public sector jobs and services."