ICO helpline cut short as staff join Walkout Wednesday

icoThe Information Commissioner’s Office has been forced to run a limited helpline service today with civil service staff joining the mass strike on “Walkout Wednesday”, which has also seen teachers, university staff, and train drivers take industrial action.

ICO staff are among the 100,000 Public & Commercial Services union members who have joined what the organisation has dubbed “the largest civil service strike for years”.

Departments where staff have gone on strike include the Department for Work & Pensions, Department of Health & Social Care and Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency, as well as the Home Office, Ofsted and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

The action went ahead after talks with the Government aimed at resolving the dispute over pay, jobs and conditions were branded a “total farce”.

The PCS voted to strike back in November, but only a handful of its members have actually walked out, most notably Border Force officials over Christmas, as well as driving examiners and Highways Agency staff.

The Government has offered civil servants a 2% to 3% pay rise, but the PCS is calling for a rise of 10%, in line with inflation.

According to the ICO website, the average ICO salary ranges from £26,503 a year for a communications officer to £55,966 a year fora user experience designer. Information Commissioner John Edwards trousers an annual salary of £200,000.

Back in 2015, senior figures at the ICO were slammed by the PCS union amid claims they had trousered “fat cat” pay rises of up to 18% while ordinary staff had been offered a deal within the 1% Treasury pay cap. The row led to a three-day walk from the ICO office in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

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