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Parliamentary unions demand remote sittings or Westminster could face industrial action

UNIONS representing workers in the Palace of Westminster threatened to strike today if they are forced to return to Parliament without remote working being considered.

PCS and Prospect both cautioned the government ahead of a decision on whether to recall MPs to discuss the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis or to approve a Brexit trade deal.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “We are now in the situation where London and much of the south-east have been effectively forced back into lockdown.

“Democracy must be allowed to continue, but it must not be at the expense of the safety of parliamentary staff. 

“Any recall must be done on a fully remote basis so that the numbers of people entering Westminster can be kept to an absolute minimum.”

Mr Clancy said that Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg and the government must “abandon their baseless and dangerous opposition” to remote sittings.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Parliamentary staff have been doing an incredible job making sure our democracy functions during this unprecedented Covid pandemic. 

“However, they should not have to risk their health in order to oversee an unnecessary full reopening of Parliament. 

“Jacob Rees-Mogg should reflect on unions’ concerns and if he fails to protect staff, we will not rule out balloting PCS members for industrial action.”

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