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Wednesday 24 October 2018

House of Commons must not water down recommendations of harassment inquiry, FDA warns

On 24 October 2018, the House of Commons Commission will meet to consider the Dame Laura Cox inquiry into systemic bullying, harassment and sexual harassment. In advance of the meeting FDA Assistant General Secretary Amy Leversidge said: 
 
“The House of Commons Commission must vote to implement Dame Laura’s recommendations in full and immediately. Last week we wrote to every member of the Commission to urge them, in the strongest possible terms, to do the right thing and not delay the full implementation of Dame Laura’s report. 
 
“Any delay in agreeing the recommendations in full will be seen by staff for what it is, a tactic to allow MPs to get away with implementing a watered-down version later. 

“This week we have already seen the unprecedented step of serving House of Commons staff sign a public letter to the Commission to urge them to implement the recommendations in full and without delay. If the Commission will not show the leadership the report highlighted was necessary, members have approached us to say they want to consider what action they can take to bring about the changes necessary to protect them as they go about their working lives.

“Industrial action is always a last resort and nobody would take the decision lightly, especially staff in the House of Commons who are immensely loyal to Parliament. However, as Dame Laura said in her report, that loyalty has been pushed to breaking point and as a member-led union, we would always support the decision of members where they feel industrial action is necessary.

“The recommendations made by Dame Laura echo those that the FDA has been pursuing, and staff have been waiting for, for years. If the Commission, after such a damning inquiry, votes for anything less than a full and immediate implementation of Dame Laura’s recommendations, staff will naturally ask themselves ‘if not now, when?’.

“If the House is still willing to continue to tolerate and conceal abuse, even after the searing criticism in Dame Laura’s inquiry, then the Commission must be aware that they will be pushing staff to consider an unprecedented step as they will have little other choice to affect change.”
Notes for editors
1. The FDA is the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, representing more than 18,000 members at grades HEO and above. Membership includes senior civil servants, government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across the Government and the NHS.
2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".
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FDA Communications Officer Tommy Newell on 020 7401 5588 or 07738 729 145.
FDA Communications Officer Laura Gilbert on 020 7401 5589 or 07980 700 747.
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