Equalities workers to take strike action over cuts

Workers at the Equalities and Human Rights Commission will take strike action tomorrow in protest at spending cuts, with a further walk-out planned next week.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union will stop work for an hour from 11am and mount picket lines at the commission's main offices in London, Cardiff, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester.

The union is protesting at plans to cut jobs, claiming that the commission wanted to more than halve staff numbers from 460 to 200 within a year because of budget cuts of 68%, leaving many of those remaining on short-term contracts.

The union said plans to cut the commission's budget to £22.5 million by 2015, from £70 million when it was formed in 2007, would mean employers and public authorities would no longer be held to account if they carried out discriminatory policies.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "These are dedicated staff, experts in their fields, and this strike action shows how determined they are to maintain proper, quality services to the public.

"This work is particularly important at a time when Government cuts are making it more likely people will face discrimination and disadvantage, and we urge the commission to talk to us about the alternatives."

Another one-hour strike will be held on May 11.