The result of a strike ballot of over 270,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union over redundancy rights was to be announced this week.
A yes vote will lead to a major confrontation between a key group of public sector workers and the government.
New Labour wants to make serious cuts to the terms of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme—the payouts workers receive when they are made redundant.
This will clear the way for massive job cuts and the sell off of services to privateers.
PCS activists say that attacks are increasing members’ anger at management.
Workers in Revenue & Customs and the Identity & Passport Service are facing office closures, while other departments are suffering too.
Steve West, a PCS rep in Bristol, told Socialist Worker, “The mood is strong. People have been telling me that they have voted for strike action.
“People know that if bosses get away with cutting the compensation scheme, it will be easier to reduce the number of workers.
“That would mean a cut to the services that we provide.”
The union plans to begin any action with a two-day national strike.
Many activists are arguing that there should be a national demonstration on the second day of the action.
This will be a set-piece battle over who pays for the economic crisis—workers or bosses.
And the union will have to call more strikes, including national ones, to win.