STAFF from a closure-threatened Wirral Land Registry office have walked out for a second day in a bid to protect 300 jobs.
It is part of a 48-hour strike at the agency’s office in Birkenhead called by the Public and Commercial Service Union over plans to sell off the 150-year-old agency and cut jobs.
Yesterday, 332 staff in the office walked out as part of action taking place in 14 locations across England and Wales. Only eight went into work.
Dave Lunn, chairman of the PCS Land Registry Birkenhead Branch in Woodside, told the Globe this morning: "The strike was absolutely solid yesterday, and we are expecting the same response today. Ninety five percent of staff in Birkenhead walked out.
"The vast majority of members stayed away from work too, not just here, but across the country.
"It sends a quite clear message to our management that their members won't accept privatisation, won't accept their offices being closed or their jobs going.
"They are prepared to make a stand and do what they can to get the right result.
"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."
"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."
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 it would "endeavour to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the services we offer to our professional customers and the public".