photo credit: The loud shadow IMG_0239 via photopin (license)

Staff at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) are to strike over Tory cuts to their budget and compulsory redundancies, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has announced.

PCS members voted 82% percent in favour of strikes, with the first strike being on Wednesday 26 October, and 90% for other forms of industrial action, on a 64.7% turnout.

The union says the cuts will lead to fewer caseworkers supporting victims of discrimination and undermine the EHRC’s ability to tackle a rise in hate crime after the EU referendum.

They could also threaten the EHRC’s United Nations ‘A’ status as a national human rights institution, say PCS.

Nine of out twenty-six positions to be axed are held by the lowest-paid staff, meaning the cuts will disproportionately affect older, ethnic minority and disabled staff.

[contextly_sidebar id=”aXVdSpedvQ4al3cmjChkwumMuclcQFZu”]The commission has previously refused alternative sources of savings, including employing non-payroll consultants which they claim comes at a higher cost: almost £1.2 million was paid last year to just eight staff.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The commission is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on consultants while getting rid of low paid staff who provide daily support to victims of discrimination.

“It is sickening that as division and hate are being fostered in our communities in the wake of the Brexit vote, this Tory government is cutting the staff whose job it is to combat this.”