From ‘Bureaucrats’ to Essential Workers

In recent months there has been an increased appreciation for public service workers, including PCS members.

As PCS lead negotiator covering the Surge and Rapid Response Team of apprentices within HMRC I have seen numerous examples where the work of PCS members has been deemed to be essential.

125 Surge Apprentices from across the UK will be deployed from today (4th January) to support UK Border Force with work relating to EU Transition at a number of UK ports. The work is deemed so essential that the staff are being permitted to undertake extensive travel. A team of over a dozen Surge Apprentices based in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire will be deployed to North Kent. The work is deemed so important that these staff are exempt from the current travel ban between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

HMRC have agreed with PCS that only volunteers will be asked to undertake this work and PCS lead officials within UK Border Force have been given prior notice of the deployment and should have been consulted by their management about it. Depending on the length of time the apprentices are away from their base office they will qualify for a deployment bonus. PCS have been asked to agree the health & safety risk assessments relating to the deployment.

It can only be hoped that once the pandemic is over the appreciation among the public for the work of PCS members doesn’t dissipate.

Hector Wesley

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