PCS threatens to strike over voting queue chaos

MPs are being made to stand in 90-minute queues in order to vote in Westminster after virtual Parliament was scrapped.

5 Jun 2020| News

The PCS union has threatened to ballot for strike action after a 90-minute queue to vote in the House of Commons led to chaotic scenes on Tuesday (02 June 2020).

Leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, scrapped the virtual Parliament that was put in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic, forcing MPs to physically attend Westminster.

More than a third of PCS members, which include Parliametary clerks, security guards and kitchen staff, are from BAME backgrounds – well-known to be at increased risk from Coronavirus.

The union said it had received many complaints from its members after MPs broke social distancing rules while they waited to vote.

“It was a breeding ground for infection,” one worker quoted by the Guardian said. “Supermarkets have better Covid management in place.”

The PCS has demanded the Parliamentary Authorities meet the standards of five tests, including a track and trace system, regular Covid-19 tests for staff, and a Covid-19 risk assessment that includes an equality dimension to investigate additional risks for BAME workers.

“We will support our members wholeheartedly if they decide to take action and the blame will squarely lie with Jacob Rees-Mogg,” PCS General Secretary, Mark Serwotka, said.