20 July 2012
Members in the Home Office have voted to take a programme of industrial action across the department, running into the autumn.
There are some very serious and longstanding issues at stake – including thousands of job cuts that have created chaos at our borders for the travelling public, and the privatisation of vital roles across the department.
These are serious issues that, if left unresolved, will undermine the Home Office's ability to function long into the future.
Ministers have known about our concerns for a very long time and have chosen not to act. The immigration minister Damian Green finally agreed to meet us at the end of June but refused to offer us any hope these matters would be resolved.
Ministers have been scaremongering about disruption to the Olympics as a means of distracting attention from the real issues of compulsory redundancy and job cuts. They are trying to paper over the cracks and mask serious staff shortages by deploying severely undertrained staff at our borders.
We are trying to stop the chaos at our borders, and other problems piling up across the Home Office, and make things better.
We want the Olympic Games to be a success and we are confident they will be, but we cannot wait to oppose the biggest ever threat to the vital services the Home Office provides, and to our members jobs.
The government can avoid this strike if it negotiates a settlement with the union, as we have repeatedly invited them to do.
But instead of negotiating, the Home Office unilaterally announced 8,500 job cuts, and the government imposed a two-year pay freeze and a cap of 1% for two years after that.
The Home Office also sacked two of our reps who spoke out against the cuts and refused to reinstate them, is also ploughing ahead with more privatisation, and has imposed draconian changes to our terms and conditions.
We are willing to negotiate with government at any point over the next week. If the government continues to refuse to negotiate, members have no other option but to take industrial action.
Read solidarity messages from other trade unions and organisations.