Socialist Worker

Over 270,000 civil service workers launch strike ballot

Issue No. 2187

Hundreds of thousands of civil service workers will start a ballot this week over attacks on their redundancy rights. It could mean major strikes in the run-up to the general election.

Over 270,000 members of the PCS union are balloting over the government’s plans to cut the terms of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. These are the payouts workers receive when they are made redundant.

New Labour wants major job losses across the civil service as a way of helping pay for its budget deficit. PCS members are angry that the government wants them to pay for a crisis not of their making.

Every trade unionist must back the workers fight to defend their jobs and the vital services they provide.

Marianne Owens, a worker in the Revenue & Customs department and the vice-chair of PCS Wales, said, “This is the most important ballot that PCS members have had in a long time.

“The government is launching an attack on civil service workers to make it possible to get rid of huge swathes of people on the cheap.

“People are very angry about this. It is the latest in a long line of attacks that we have had. This is the final straw for many of us.

“Reps from across Wales met on Monday of this week to discuss getting the vote out in the ballot. Each region is holding similar meetings.

“The mood is good across the workplaces as most departments are seeing attacks. We hope there will be a big yes vote. We will need industrial action to force the government to back down over this issue.”

The ballot ends on 25 February. Activists are arguing for a campaign of hard-hitting national strikes to win this crucial fight.

The union plans to kick-start the action with a two-day national strike, followed by regional action. But this must not mean the end of national action.

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Tue 2 Feb 2010, 19:19 GMT
Issue No. 2187
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