The national executive of the PCS civil service workers’ union agreed a proposed calendar of events last week to take forward the fight over job cuts and pay.
A quarter of a million PCS members struck solidly on 31 January.
The executive is proposing that a number of PCS groups strike together over pay on Friday 30 March. This will involve tens of thousands of workers.
The rest of the union will take action short of a strike in support. Activists should fight to make this a day of focus for all trade unionists.
Workers in a number of different government departments have not received pay offers for 2006. The government last week imposed a pay offer of an average of just 1.75 percent for workers in the Department of Constitutional Affairs.
It is highly likely that there will be another national strike of PCS members over job cuts, proposed for 1 May.
Paul Williams, the PCS group president in the department for transport, told Socialist Worker in a personal capacity, “A strike on May Day would be great and give us a real opportunity. We should make sure that the strike has a national demonstration involving other trade unionists.
“We also need to look at escalating the dispute with a two-day strike.
“The mistake the union has made in past disputes was to have long gaps between strikes and people not knowing what was happening. So the calendar of events is a step forward.
“But we also need to have the ability to be flexible and react to events, such as more compulsory redundancies in departments. If that happens before 30 March the national executive should consider calling strike action for the whole union on that day.
“Many PCS activists are also organising imaginative events for the TUC’s Work Your Proper Hours Day this Friday. This should be seen as an essential part of our campaign and a way of keeping its momentum going.
“The union is also launching a political campaign called Make Your Vote Count in the run-up to the May council elections. Each branch will ask all the council candidates in their area what their position is on issues affecting PCS members.
“Different departments are affected by different things – pay, privatisation and job cuts being the major issues. But what links them is that they are all driven by the government’s neoliberal agenda.
“The political campaign will help us make that clear.”