A planned strike by PCS union members on the eve of the Olympics was called off last week after management concessions.
The strike would have included workers across the Home Office, including the UK Border Agency, the Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau. Workers were due to stage a 24-hour walkout last Thursday.
As well as unleashing vitriol against the strike, the government ran to the courts to try and stop the strike with an injunction.
In the end they came up with a new offer. The union said that 800 new jobs will be created in the Border Agency and 300 in passport offices. It said that was enough progress to suspend the action.
The dispute is over government plans to cut 8,500 Home Office jobs. Other issues also remain unresolved, including pay and HR policies.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said, “We are pleased that with these new posts and the progress made in talks we are able to avert a strike ahead of the Olympics.”
Immigration minister Damian Green later denied that any concessions had been made. He claimed that the jobs advertised were only part of normal turnover.
“That’s all smoke and mirrors,” said Paul McGoay, PCS assistant group secretary for Home Office workers. “No employer is going to admit that they were wrong and their workers were right.”
For Paul, the jobs are a good sign but the battle is far from over. “It’s real progress,” he said, “but we’re still in dispute and our ballot remains live.”
Some 55,000 tax workers in the PCS union began a month of industrial action against cuts at HM Revenue and Customs on Monday of this week.
Action short of a strike, including working to rule, will run for five weeks. Strikes will follow in early September. This follows a strike last month.
The government plans to cut 10,000 jobs from HMRC by 2015, on top of more than 30,000 already cut since 2005. The union also wants to highlight the threat of tax office privatisation.