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Land Registry staff set for two-day strike over Government proposals to privatise the agency

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 06, 2014

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UNION members are set to hold a 48-hour walkout over job cuts amid fears the Land Registry agency will be privatised.

Employees are planning the two-day strike next week over proposals to sell off the 150-year-old body, the Public and Commercial Services union has announced.

A total of 3,000 staff members in 14 locations across England and Wales will take industrial action on Wednesday, May 14, and Thursday, May 15.

Despite repeated requests, Land Registry bosses have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies and office closures as the Government appears to want to pursue privatisation.

Business minister Michael Fallon is officially still considering responses to his consultation into the Land Registry's future. The options are 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.

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

The union says maintaining it in public ownership would not only keep it free from conflicts of interest, but 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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  • TheMonkee  |  May 10 2014, 9:46AM

    This is robbery of an important public asset for private gain, plain and simple and most 'sane' people realise this. Land Registry as a Trading Fund is self funding, and in fact made a surplus of more than £98 million last year, which goes to the Treasury - NOTE: This is with nominal fees, as you can imagine it is the potential profits a privateer can make when it takes over and raises the fees that wets the appetite of the tories and their chums. It has 98% customer satisfaction rate. It has more to teach the private sector than the private sector could ever teach LR when it comes to professionalism. The people behind this initiative are the same as those who organised the Royal Mail sell off - Vince Cable and Michael Fallon. We all know what happened there. Land Registry in its dealings in property gives State Guarantee of Title. As a result, this underpins the UK economy, much of which is invested in its property. If the proposed privatisation goes ahead, that will leave the UK property open to plunder, fraud, and insecurity as well as citizens having their private data bandied about for profit. Probably best to oppose this then?

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  • IsitJimKerr  |  May 07 2014, 11:33AM

    Public sector employees, don't you just love 'em. Jeeeeeez, they really don't get it, do they?

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