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Court staff on two day strike

Date:8 MAR 2010

Court services may be affected today as up to 270,000 civil and public servants from across the UK begin a 48 hour stoppage over cuts to redundancy terms.

The strike, called by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), has led to a picket line being set up at the Royal Courts of Justice, the Houses of Parliament and at government departments in Whitehall.

There are currently no reported court closures but users are being advised to call ahead to confirm their case is not affected.

A spokesperson for Her Majesty's Courts Service said: "We have robust contingency plans in place which will prioritise the delivery of our most essential services. These include custody cases, urgent family cases and out of hours service. Our aim is to keep disruption to a minimum. Our intention is to continue to work with all staff to deliver our services to the public."

The dispute is over changes to the civil service compensation scheme which the union claim will see staff lose up to a third of their entitlements and see civil servants lose tens of thousands of pounds if they are forced out of a job. The union fears that the government is preparing the ground to make civil service job cuts following the general election.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "Loyal civil and public servants won't stand by and allow the government to cut jobs on the cheap. Those on strike today deliver services that touch our everyday lives from the cradle to the grave.

"Under these imposed changes, they face losing up to a third of their entitlements and tens of thousands of pounds if they are forced out of their job. The government is tearing up the contracts of low paid civil and public servants whilst it claims it can do nothing about bankers' bonuses because of contractual obligations. The government need to recognise that slashing entitlements and cutting jobs on the cheap will damage public services and reach an agreement that protects existing members' entitlements."