The strike on 26 and 27 February and 2 March follows a two day strike on 3 and 4 February which was solidly supported by around 95% of members and disrupted the ICO’s helpline, casework services and external speaking engagements. Around 20 PCS members staffed picket lines at the ICO’s main office in Wilmslow on both days.
PCS members are striking to demand fair pay for all staff after three senior executives were awarded average increases of 11%. Pay rates for the rest of staff remain significantly lower than those for equivalent jobs in the civil service and at other regulators, leading to problems with recruitment and retention.
ICO management are refusing to improve a pay offer and have instead taken the confrontational step of issuing individual letters to staff threatening that the offer may be withdrawn. A majority of staff have refused to agree the changes and are demanding ICO management return to negotiations to reach a collective agreement with PCS.
PCS members have been left with no option but to strike again. The strike will disrupt the ICO’s Data Protection Practitioner (DPP) conference in Manchester on 2 March, which will be attended by around 500 delegates. PCS will lobby delegates on the day of the conference to highlight the ICO’s low pay problem.
Branch secretary Paddy Dillon said: “PCS members at the ICO are determined to demand fair pay for all staff, not just the most highly paid executives. They have made it absolutely clear that they want ICO management to reach a collective agreement with their union rather than take the divisive step of issuing individual letters.”