Civil service workers in the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) struck a blow against Gordon Brown’s public sector pay cuts on Friday of last week.
The 20,000 PCS union members struck solidly across the country against the government’s imposition of below inflation pay deals. The rest of the union took action short of a strike as part of the campaign over job cuts, pay and privatisation.
Gnabressou Gbode, a PCS member working for the IPS in London, told Socialist Worker, “We want to make a statement to the government that we will not accept being treated this way.
“The department imposed a pay deal on us last year. This is the third strike of IPS workers since then. Many people have not turned up for work today and it has affected the department.
“The PCS strike planned for May Day is good. It will send a message to the government on a national level and unite our energy as union members.”
Maggie Hughes, of the Disposable Services Organisation in the MoD, said, “We are also protesting against people being forced to move to follow the relocation of work.
“We have recently lost 25 posts, even though the work is there as people have been doing overtime. We want management to come to the table and talk to us, not impose pay deals.”
Anne Louise, an IPS worker in Newport, Wales said, “Less have crossed the picket line than in our last strike in January.”
Michael Simons, another Newport worker, said, “Only about 30 people have gone to work and there are hundreds working here.” He described how PCS members were heartened by the amount of support they received from passers by.
A PCS rep at Glasgow passport office said, “Workers are angry that the government is imposing a deal. Inflation is 4.2 percent and we’re told we’re getting 2 percent imposed. Some of us don’t get even that as we’re at the top of our scale.
“The budget didn’t help us. It was just a vote catcher for Brown. God help us if he’s prime minister. They’re Tories acting under the Labour banner.
“Workers in the PCS need to ask their candidates if they support our demands on pay and conditions. May Day is a good time to strike, just before the election.”
Jeanette Castley, the PCS IPS branch secretary in Peterborough, said, “We’ve done very well here with a solid strike and a gathering of around 60 people from across the PCS at lunchtime.”
Paul Barnsley, the PCS group secretary in the MoD, told the London rally, “The support today has been fantastic. This is the best ever day of strike action in the department’s history.
“At Cosford military base the T&G union members took annual leave in support of us. Even the army were training in PCS vests.
“Members walked out at Brize Norton base causing five sections to be closed. This shows the depth of anger in the department over pay. May Day is critical in taking us forward and to show an alternative to job cuts, privatisation and poverty pay.”
PCS members in the Crown Prosecution Service, Department of Health, Land Registry and Learning Skills Council are carrying out a month long work-to-rule over pay.
Thanks to Des Mannay and Alan Thomson