Magistrates’ Court workers to worsen disruption with nine-day strike
Magistrates Court workers are set to add to the disruption facing the UK’s criminal justice system by launching a nine-day strike, from the 10th to the 18th September.
The strike, involving members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, will see court staff take industrial action over the government’s £1bn courts digitalisation strategy.
The action schedule comes after 93 per cent of PCS members voted to strike, in calling on the government to reconsider its plans to roll out the Common Platform digital case management system.
Critics claim the launch of the Common Platform has been fraught with issues that have increased workloads and worsened conditions.
In setting out their plans to strike, the PCS accused HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) of acting “disgracefully” in failing to “recognise the strength” of the union’s members’ feelings around the Common Platform’s “negative impact.”
The union claimed HMCTS had acted to “gaslight” its members over the system’s successes, as it said the government also vowed to refuse to pay those who failed to use the Common Platform.
A spokesperson for HMCTS said the Common Platform is “key to modernising the court system, making it more efficient and fit for purpose”.
“This is a disappointing outcome as we have been working with staff and unions on the rollout of the Common Platform since September 2020, and it has already dealt with over 158,000 criminal cases,” the spokesperson said.
The strike is set to add to the court backlogs and worsen the disruption caused by the barristers’ strike, that is set run continuously from 5 September.