More evidence of trouble within the courts system and in particular for landlords seeking to evict tenants via possession hearings has emerged, LandlordZONE can report.
Some 30 civil courts and tribunals saw agency staff walk out on Friday (22nd September) out during industrial action, with court officials warning that some hearings may be moved to alternative locations or conducted remotely to minimise disruption. Further action is scheduled for today (25th) and also the 26th and 27th September.
The industrial action is by security staff provided by supplier OCS over pay which is likely to “severely impact” the running many courts across the country in total including crown and magistrate courts dealing with evictions but also criminal and other types of hearings.
The pay dispute follows a statement from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union that its members working for OCS were angry at being offered a salary based on an hourly rate just 38p above the National Living WageOne of the largest courts to be affected is the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, which deals with possession cases, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) reveals.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka (pictured) adds: “Members are outraged by the disgraceful actions of OCS in tabling a derisory and insulting pay offer. Our members will not pay for a cost-of-living crisis not of their making”.
The union also says action is taking place because agency workers have been “asked to cover a role they’re not trained for.
“Although no harm was done…the chaos underlines the importance of having trained professionals running the security of our courts.”
A statement from the MoJ over teh weekend says “following a recent ballot of PCS trade union members employed by our security contractor (OCS), some court and tribunal security officers took industrial action on Friday 22 September.
“The action is expected to continue on 25, 27 and 29 September. Where we have reason to believe people with hearings will be impacted by the action we will make contact with details of alternative arrangements.”
Even before the strike action landlords using the courts to evict tenants have been experiencing long delays.
Image credit: PCS Union.
The courts involved on Friday and expected to be involved this week are: