Socialist Worker


Issue No. 1768

CIVIL SERVANTS from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) struck for two days last week over pay. PCS union members at government offices in York, Guildford and Worcester walked out on Thursday and Friday.

Some DEFRA staff can earn £90 a week less than colleagues doing exactly the same job in other government departments. Graham Pearson from PCS said the strike action was getting overwhelming support from workers: 'The rolling strike action will continue until management see sense.

'We are pulling 94 percent of our members out on strike. We are not talking about fat cat civil servants here. The workers we are talking about got a pay rise when the minimum wage came in because they were being paid so little.'

The campaign of action began on 20 August with an all-out strike by 3,000 PCS members.

This was followed up by further two-day selective strikes at Crewe, Nottingham, Exeter, Bristol, Truro, Carlisle, Northallerton and Reading. The walkouts are aimed at putting pressure on the government to put an end to pay differences.

These differences were created when workers from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions were joined with colleagues from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to form DEFRA.


THE STRIKE by members of the PCS civil servants' union in west London is still going strong. The workers are on all- out strike, and fighting for better safety and working conditions in the new Pathfinder offices, which combine workers from the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service.

PCS is currently balloting workers in over 50 Pathfinder offices in Britain to join the west London strikers. Workers in Makerfield, near Wigan, and local London offices have also refused to touch work redirected from west London. Indicative ballots in four offices have seen votes for strike action.

The strikers have called a national demonstration for 7.30pm on Friday 28 September outside Wembley job centre in London (near Wembley Central tube)

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Sat 29 Sep 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1768
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