Equality and Human Rights Commission
Around 70 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union at the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Manchester protested on Monday lunchtime after bosses announced 50 job cuts.
Management want to close down the department’s public helpline in Manchester.
Helpline workers provide an essential service, advising people of their rights if they fear they are suffering from discrimination.
Calls to the helpline have increased during the recession, including complaints of bosses sacking disabled staff and workers on maternity leave to cut costs.
A PCS branch officer told Socialist Worker, “There is real anger among people about the cuts.
“The union is discussing what we need to do next to resist these cuts. There is a mood to fight them.”
More than 400 PCS members at English Heritage are balloting for strike action over new pay proposals that divide staff into two categories and will lead to cuts in pay.
Workers at 100 heritage sites, including Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Castle, are angry at the proposals that will lead to a two tier workforce and see support staff and workers in visitor operations forced to take drastic pay cuts.
Bosses want to introduce standard and premium pay rates. Workers deemed “hard to recruit and retain” will be put on the premium pay rate and will get 10 percent more wages than those on the standard pay rate in visitor operations.
Staff at English Heritage are already low-paid, with starting salaries as little as £12,700.
The ballot closes on Friday of next week.
Revenue & Customs
Members of the PCS at the Revenue & Customs department are currently balloting over their pay offer for 2009 and 2010. The offer would mean workers on the top band would see any rise capped at 1 percent.
The PCS is recommending that workers reject the deal and vote yes to say that they would be willing to take industrial action over this issue in the consultative ballot. The ballot closes on Thursday of next week.
Workers have also voted by over 70 percent for action short of a strike, meaning an overtime ban.
Management is using overtime as a way to hide the true impact of job cuts. The ban is set to start from Monday of next week.
PCS members in call centres in the department recently won gains by threatening to strike to defend their terms and conditions.