Thousands of civil service workers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are moving towards strikes after pay talks with management collapsed.
Some 80,000 PCS union members had already struck solidly for two days in December over a below-inflation three year pay offer.
The union called off a strike in the department set for 31 January after management offered talks.
But management has decided it is not going to concede to any of the union’s demands – leading to the collapse of the talks.
The group executive of the PCS union in the DWP was set to meet this week to discuss action. There is a real anger and mood for action among DWP workers.
The first question I was asked even before I got into work on Monday was, “When are we going to go on strike?”
People are angry at a number of issues other than pay – for instance in parts of the Child Support Agency bosses are trying to get rid of paid teabreaks.
It is clear that we need to take serious action and up the ante in this dispute.
We can’t afford to let management think they can get away with giving some workers no pay rise this year.
Workers in the PCS in a number of government departments, including the department of transport and the Valuation Office Agency, are balloting or moving towards action over pay.
If possible, we should coordinate our action with other groups inside and outside the civil service.
The PCS has called a lobby of parliament on Tuesday 11 March over pay as a way of stepping up the pressure on the government.
Representatives from all of the civil service departments that are in pay disputes will be attending.
A rally will take place with Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS, and Labour MP John McDonnell from 1.30pm in Committee Room 10 in parliament. Reps and members will then lobby their MPs.
We need to maximise the turn-out on that day.
People from my branch will certainly be looking forward to lobbying their MP, Gordon Brown.