Staff strike over pay
INFORMATION watchdog staff went on strike after lodging a complaint with their own employer for failing to answer questions over pay.
Staff at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) took part in a twoday strike last week.
The members from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union protested outside the office on Water Lane in Wilmslow.
They say wages are well below that of equivalent jobs in the civil service, often by several thousand pounds a year.
Claire Jones, PCS industrial officer, said: “Pay at the ICO has stagnated because of George Osborne’s cuts, but the most highly paid executives have had huge increases.
“It is grossly unfair that the majority of staff who work hard to improve access to information for everyone are being denied a decent pay rise.”
Workers at the ICO are responsible for the enforcement of the Data Protection Act and for Freedom of Information which requires organisations to disclose information to the public.
Last month marked the 10th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act coming into force.
The strike came after workers lodged a complaint with their employer for failing to answer questions over pay after they submitted a Freedom of Information request of their own. The union wanted answers on pay awards given to three senior executives who were awarded an average increase of 11 per cent.
They asked for informa- tion relating to how the executive pay award was decided.
But they were told there were no records available so they filed an official complaint with the ICO which is obliged to investigate and make a ruling.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said it was ‘deeply ironic’ that members had to complain to their bosses about its refusal to release this information.
An ICO spokesman said: “The ICO has a general duty to investigate complaints from members of the public who believe that an authority has failed to respond correctly to a request for information.
“That duty includes handling cases where the ICO is itself the public authority. A complaint of this type will be dealt with in the same way as any other, with safeguards in place to ensure an independent decision.”
Members strike outside Wycliffe House, Water Lane over pay and conditions