of 2,000 signatures

To Alex Fleming, Region President of Northern Europe at Adecco and Population & Public Policy Directors, Office for National Statistics

Thousands of temporary Census workers are being told to pay for travel to attend inductions to or lose temporary work.

Petition text

The 2021 Census takes place on 21st March 2021. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has contracted recruitment agency Adecco to hire temporary workers in various Census officer roles in their local areas.

There is an induction period in the week before their role begins which they are paid for. In this first week Adecco are asking some workers to travel to attend their first day induction without offering to pay travel expenses - in some cases up to 40 miles from their home.

The reasons they have given for this travel during a national lockdown are so that right to work documents can be checked and so that workers can meet their managers - both things that can be done virtually.

On the ONS' page 'How the Office for National Statistics is ensuring the 2021 Census will serve the public', one of their stated aims is "to conduct it in a cost-effective way". Evidently this means passing on part of the cost of training to the workers who will be carrying out essential work for the government body.

It is unacceptable to expect temporary workers, many of whom may not have regular work or the means to cover such expenses - especially in the context of pandemic job losses - to pay in order to attend training for jobs that only last 4-6 weeks.

I personally have been unemployed since November and can barely afford to pay for necessities month-to-month on Universal Credit, let alone rail travel to a physical meeting that could easily take place online. Yet I was told that I had to accept this cost at my own expense or I would no longer have a job.

This petition asks that Adecco and the ONS treat its Census officers fairly by paying for any travel expenses to and from induction events outside their local area. Failing this, Census officers should have the option to attend induction events virtually to avoid such expenses.

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