Land Registry staff in 48-hour walkout over job cuts amid privatisation fears

12 May 2014

UtR-crowd-logo-rgb Land Registry staff will hold a two-day strike over plans to sell off the trusted 150-year-old agency and cut jobs, PCS announces.

 

The walkout, among the union’s 3,000 members in 14 locations in England and Wales, will be on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 May.

 

Despite repeated requests, Land Registry bosses have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies and office closures as the government appears to favour pressing ahead with privatisation.

 

Business minister Michael Fallon is officially still considering responses to his consultation into the Land Registry’s future, with options being to move it from the civil service to a ‘government owned company'; into a joint venture with a private company; or to maintain it in public ownership.

 

The union believes the majority of respondents, including professionals and lawyers in the property industry, are opposed to any change of status.

 

But the Guardian newspaper reports today (6) that the registry’s board of senior managers received a presentation on plans for a future joint venture just days after the consultation closed.

 

The Land Registry, which is self-financing and receives no public funds, enjoys a 96% customer satisfaction rating and in 19 of the last 20 years has made money for the Treasury – £96 million last year.

 

The union says maintaining it in public ownership would not only keep it free from conflicts of interest, it could provide an added public service in helping to deal with the housing crisis through regulation of land use and setting up a register of landlords.

 

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Despite clear opposition from staff, lawyers and industry professionals, it appears ministers are determined to hand over yet another successful public asset to the private sector.

 

“The government has failed to make any kind of case for the need to privatise what is a well trusted and respected 150-year-old agency. The move is for purely political reasons and we are committed to doing everything we can to stop it.”

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