Property transactions face further delays after the Land Registry and the Registers of Scotland were among the 125 government departments to confirm that they are pressing ahead with strike action next month amidst ongoing disputes over pay, pensions, jobs, and redundancy terms.
Talks between the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin ended without agreement, leading to the union’s national executive to call for action on 1 February.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This meeting was a total farce. Despite being well-trailed by the government as a chance to resolve the crisis, it was nothing of the sort because the minister had nothing to offer.”
The union is seeking a 10% pay rise for its members as well as other demands, such as assurances on job security and “no cuts to redundancy terms.”
Land Registry staff voted for action by a majority of 82.5% and the Registers of Scotland by 90.6%, in November.
The Land Registry issued this statement: “HM Land Registry notes the decision of the PCS national executive committee to call for industrial action.
“The PCS is required to formally write to employers to give them 14 days’ notice of strike action – to date, we have not yet received this.
“We have successfully mitigated the impact of industrial action on our services in the past and have robust contingency plans in place.
“We will prioritise time-critical services required for property transactions to continue, including pre-completion searches (the majority of which are automated) and urgent applications that have been expedited.
“We will closely monitor any impacts and respond as necessary to deliver the essential services required to support the property market.”
The strike action announced yesterday by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will slow down the housing market at a time when it is already facing delays, according to DJ Alexander.
David Alexander, the chief executive officer of DJ Alexander Scotland, said: “The vote for strike action at Registers of Scotland (ROS) has the potential to delay transactions in the housing market. While it is understandable that members of the PCS union feel the need to take action to secure higher wages it is inevitable that this will impact on the speed at which property transactions can be carried out. While this is just a one day strike it is inevitable there will be more if their pay demands are not met.”
“Homebuyers and sellers must be made aware by their selling agent of any potential delays in the buying and selling process. This may frustrate many who are keen to buy and sell at the moment although a positive side is that the industrial action is taking place at a traditionally quiet time for the market.”
He added: “Unfortunately this is happening at a time when the property market is already facing many challenges with many homeowners trying to accelerate the buying and selling process due to uncertainty over mortgage offers. While it obviously depends on the level of industrial action and the number of strike days undertaken this will undoubtedly cause delays in the buying and selling process. I would hope that the impact will not be too great and that it can be resolved quickly to allow a return to normal service as soon as possible.”
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