Staff at two Crown courts have voted to strike over Covid-19 safety concerns, according to an announcement by one of the UK’s largest trade unions.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said staff at Liverpool Law Courts and Snaresbrook Crown Court have backed industrial action. The union began to ballot members in HM Courts & Tribunals Service last month over what it says is management’s ‘failure to act to address serious and significant health and safety concerns’.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘This vote for strike action is an indictment of HMCTS management’s refusal to take Covid in the workplace seriously. Court staff have been working incredibly hard in this pandemic keeping the justice system running but they feel deeply let down and are worried for their safety with high case numbers across the HMCTS estate.

‘Management’s refusal to agree to our sensible proposals including holding critical cases virtually and mandatory Covid testing for staff, is what lies at the heart of this dispute.’

PCS is demanding the immediate closure of all courts ,with critical cases conducted virtually. 

A spokesperson for HMCTS said: All our courts are Covid-secure and meet strict Public Health England standards – there is no evidence of heightened transmission in our estate.

‘It is regrettable a small proportion of our workforce voted for action, risking unnecessary disruption but we remain focussed on delivering justice, safely, and continue to engage with unions.’