Wirral workers walk out over plans to sell off Land Registry and cut jobs

Wirral workers walk out over plans to sell off Land Registry and cut jobs

Staff strike at Birkenhead office over plans to sell off Land Registry and cut jobs. Photo from @PCS_Northwest on Twitter.

Staff strike at Birkenhead office over plans to sell off Land Registry and cut jobs. Photo from @PCS_Northwest on Twitter.

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

STAFF working at Wirral’s Land Registry office have walked out in a bid to protect 300 jobs.

The 48-hour strike, held at the agency’s office in Birkenhead, has been called over plans to sell off the trusted 150-year-old agency and cut jobs.

The walkout, on Wednesday May 14 and Thursday May 15, by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union’s 340 members in the office is part of action taking place in 14 locations across England and Wales.

Dave Lunn, Chair of the PCS Land Registry Birkenhead Branch said: "It is an absolute scandal that our members who have contributed to record Land Registry performance, which in turn has put millions back into the public coffers and has allowed us reduce fees to customers, are now facing the threat of their office closing and a future out of work"

"Land Registry is a trusted organisation that operates independently away from the conflicting financial interests of the market to register your property details and makes legal judgements on differing interests between sellers, buyers, lenders and neighbours.

"We have  very real concerns that Privatisation of Land Registry and cuts to jobs will threaten the integrity of the Land Register, drive up the cost of house buying, threaten the stability of the housing market, threaten the state guarantee of title and could even force local high street solicitors out of business."

"An area such as Wirral can ill afford to lose relatively well paid skilled and quality jobs, which will have a knock on effect on the private sector economy.

"We call upon local politicians, local businesses and indeed the general public to join in our campaign to save local jobs and a vital national asset.

"We are not prepared to sit back and watch while 150 years of trusted public service is handed to a private company to make a profit at the expense of our members and the public. This is why we will be striking on May 14 and 15.”

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is officially still considering responses to its consultation into the future of the Land Registry, with options being to move it from the civil service to a “government owned company”, into a joint venture with a private company, or maintain its current status.

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% customer satisfaction rating and in 19 of the last 20 years has made money for the Treasury. Last year, it handed more than £96 million to the exchequer and is expected to top £100 million this year.

A spokesman for the Land Registry said they will "endeavour to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the services we offer to our professional customers and the public".

Comments (2)

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12:21pm Wed 14 May 14

Legal Smeagle says...

Good reporting Emma, however - your article misses the real point. BIS may well say that there is no official result of the consultation yet, but minutes of a secret Land registry meeting leaked to the Guardian show that the plans are already in motion with premises being earmarked, persons appointed to corporate positions and discussions about central government's somewhat cavalier attitude to the storm this is likely to provoke.

The local effect on Wirral is a valid point of view, but it's almost more important to understand that this is the preamble to selling off a national institution for instant gain and risking a downturn in service, instead of hanging onto it and continuing to provide the substantial profit and a service level that is envied across the World. OK there's a big effect on local jobs, but the big picture is about possibly putting the whole land registration system in the hands of a non-British investor and losing control of quality.

AND - the wheels are turning, the consultation was a sham and we are about to lose a national asset! Hope this helps people to understand!
Good reporting Emma, however - your article misses the real point. BIS may well say that there is no official result of the consultation yet, but minutes of a secret Land registry meeting leaked to the Guardian show that the plans are already in motion with premises being earmarked, persons appointed to corporate positions and discussions about central government's somewhat cavalier attitude to the storm this is likely to provoke. The local effect on Wirral is a valid point of view, but it's almost more important to understand that this is the preamble to selling off a national institution for instant gain and risking a downturn in service, instead of hanging onto it and continuing to provide the substantial profit and a service level that is envied across the World. OK there's a big effect on local jobs, but the big picture is about possibly putting the whole land registration system in the hands of a non-British investor and losing control of quality. AND - the wheels are turning, the consultation was a sham and we are about to lose a national asset! Hope this helps people to understand! Legal Smeagle
  • Score: 8

7:22pm Wed 14 May 14

Joeblogg85 says...

As an ex public servant I can tell you that I have yet to see a consultation that wasn't already decided!
As an ex public servant I can tell you that I have yet to see a consultation that wasn't already decided! Joeblogg85
  • Score: 1

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