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Office for National Statistics workers announce industrial action

26 Apr 2024 2 minute read
PCS members at the ONS are taking industrial action Picture: PA.

Employees at the Office for National Statistics are refusing to comply with an instruction to spend two days a week in offices, it has been announced.

More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) say they will not be “forced back” to the office 40% of the week.

The employees, based in Newport, Titchfield in Hampshire, London, Darlington, Manchester and Edinburgh, have already voted in favour of strikes and other forms of industrial action in protest at the drive for more office-based working.

The union said that, from May 8, their members will not comply with the instruction.

Many staff already willingly spend more than 40% of their working time in the office, but there is widespread upset about the arbitrary nature of the new directive, said the PCS.


A spokesman said: “Following a promise by management that staff could continue to work flexibly after the Covid pandemic, some workers started families, moved house and made other long-term commitments, safe in the knowledge, they thought, their working conditions were secure.”

PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote said: “Our members are a highly skilled and capable workforce and they deserve to be treated as such, showing for several years they can successfully manage hybrid working.

“The new policy threatens serious disruption, especially for staff with childcare and other caring responsibilities, and those who live a considerable distance from their designated office.

“The workforce at ONS is spread across the UK, meaning that regardless of where staff perform their work, most meetings and collaboration must have a virtual presence.

“Mandated office attendance removes the flexibility and trust that was promised to staff by senior leaders, which staff understandably shaped their lives around, for the sake of meeting an unnecessary attendance percentage.”

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