The PCS civil service workers’ union has called a two day strike of over 80,000 members in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in a long-running battle over pay.
The strikes are set for the 17 and 18 March.
The PCS DWP group executive met on Thursday of last week following the collapse of talks over an imposed three year pay deal.
These talks only took place after the then work and pensions secretary Peter Hain ordered DWP officials to re-open discussions to head off a planned strike on 31 January.
Management turned up to what was the second meeting and said no to all of the PCS’s proposals to settle the dispute.
The pay offer, which was imposed last November, has already seen a two day strike, which took place in December.
Not only will 40 percent of members receive nothing this year, but there is no separate amount of money for pay progression.
It effectively freezes pay rates for some members for three years.
It is time to step up the pressure on DWP management.
The group executive last week also agreed to seek a meeting with the new secretary of state and to support the PCS’s lobby of parliament for all departments and agencies involved in disputes over pay on Tuesday 11 March.
The strike is to be followed by an overtime ban to last until at least the end of the financial year and possibly beyond.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka addressed a meeting of 150 union members in the DWP Liverpool branch on Friday of last week.
He said he would be arguing on the national executive that all departments in dispute over pay should strike with the teachers and lecturers at the end of April.
Branches should lobby the national executive to ensure this happens.
The planned strikes and lobby of parliament are starting to look like a programme of action that could have an effect.
Activists should build for all the events and submit plans to the group executive to turn the week of the strike in March into one of disruption.