The Home Office has conducted a series of witness interviews to find out what was said by six Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union reps before the walkout.
One of the six - PCS branch vice chairman Martin Kelsey - said he now feared the sack if the Home Office decided their advice was "unreasonable". He and the others being investigated, including branch organiser Kate Wildman and treasurer Tom O'Shea, will consult PCS's lawyers this week.
Mr Kelsey said: "This was not an illegal strike, and to suggest so is nothing less than a cynical attack on the union. This is the 21st century, how can local management in a major department of state go for more than three days without providing adequate sanitation? Staff grew tired of waiting for the Home Office to provide basic amenities, but instead of resolving the concerns, management have resorted to witch hunting local union reps."
Workers were told the toilets had been fixed at 8pm, but weekend staff had to use the washrooms at a nearby office the next day, after the system broke down again. Although no-one was in the office on the Sunday, the union says workers were left without facilities until Monday evening, constituting more than three days without facilities.
In a letter to the six, pay and pensions service head Alan Roberts warned the investigation would also look into "comments" in a union newsletter about a former senior member of staff.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We have only just commissioned an investigation to establish the facts surrounding the events that took place, and therefore we are not in a position to comment until the investigation has been concluded."
What is more ‘unreasonable’? Being told to work without access to a toilet or refusing to work without access to a toilet? The legality or otherwise of the walkout is a red herring – workers should not have to put up with conditions like that. The bosses could also be looking to root out the ‘troublemakers’ so they can attack the rest in the future.