The ballot of 270,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union to strike over below-inflation pay is into its second week, and activists are reporting a good response to the union’s campaign.
The ballot draws together all the different civil service departments in dispute over pay, a number of which have already struck over the last few months.
It will also make it possible to strike alongside other unions, particularly the NUT teachers’ union.
PCS activists are organising to get the arguments for a big yes vote out to their members.
Paul McGoay, the PCS president of the Identity and Passport Services (IPS) department, told Socialist Worker, “There is serious disgruntlement at IPS over pay. We have had two imposed pay deals that have led to below-inflation wages for people.
“We have organised members’ meetings at all the big offices in the department and the feedback from them has been very good. People are up for action over pay. I am confident of a yes vote here.
“The PCS is arguing that public sector workers shouldn’t have to pay for the mess caused by the government and the City’s mishandling of the economy.
“Our campaign against compulsory redundancies in IPS has been successful, but management could come back for more jobs, so the union will need to remain strong.”
Sue Bond, the PCS vice-president, told Socialist Worker, “I have spoken at a number of members’ meetings, from small public bodies to the Revenue & Customs department where they have just thrown out an unacceptable pay offer.
“Workers are seeing their bills go up, while their wages go down. I know of one worker who faces having his home repossessed as he can no longer afford to pay his mortgage.
“People see that the same government that is giving us below-inflation pay is allowing big business to cost the state £25 billion a year through tax avoidance. The government is also cutting staff who collect taxes.
“So people are up for action, especially united strikes with other unions, to put the maximum pressure on the government.” The ballot closes on 17 October.