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Land Registry staff set to strike over job and privatisation fears.
4:23pm Tuesday 6th May 2014 in News
WEYMOUTH'S Land Registry staff are set to walk out for 48-hours over fears about privatisation and job cuts.
The Public and Commercial Services(PCS) union has said that members at the building on the Granby Industrial Estate will join colleagues from across England and Wales in the stike.
The two-day strike is over fears that the agency could be privatised and that jobs could be cut.
The walkout, among the union's 3,000 members in 14 locations in England and Wales, will be on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 May.
There are 230 staff at the Weymouth office about three-quarters of whom are union members.
A consultation into the Land Registry's future closed in March, but union bosses said they have been told no decision has been reached.
A spokesman for the union said that despite repeated requests, Land Registry bosses have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies and office closures as 'the government appears to favour pressing ahead with privatisation.'
The spokesman said: “Business minister Michael Fallon is officially still considering responses to his consultation into the Land Registry's future, with options being to move it from the civil service to a 'government owned company', into a joint venture with a private company, or to maintain it in public ownership.”
The union said it believes the majority of consultation responses, including professionals and lawyers in the property industry, are opposed to any change of status.
Chairman of the PCS branch at Weymouth Land Registry Andy Woodgate said morale at the offices in Melcombe Court was 'at rock bottom.'
He said: “The situation is two fold. It's to do with the privatisation threat. We believe it's now very much on the cards.”
Figures from the Land Registry suggest they have a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating and last year made £98 million for the Treasury.
Mr Woodgate said: “We are helping to reduce the deficit- why do you want to privatise us? When we have performed very well both in value for money terms and customer service terms.”
Mr Woodgate said staff felt frustrated about not being told what was going to happen and they felt 'lives were on hold.'
Talks are ongoing and Mr Woodgate said the strike could be called off if talks were 'constructive' or if there was a retraction away from the ideas of privatisation or office closures.
We said: “We have to do something before it's too late.”
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