Socialist Worker

Don't throw away chance to fight

Issue No. 1886

THE government is deeply worried about the civil servants' strike. That's why on Tuesday of this week it appealed for more talks with the union's biggest section set to strike.

Mistakenly, the PCS civil servants' union leadership in the Department for Work and Pensions decided to suspend the strike for two weeks for the talks. This means over 90,000 workers not striking with their colleagues on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Phil Pardoe, of the PCS group executive in this department, told Socialist Worker, "This is a very dangerous move by the majority on the union group executive. We have been down this road so many times before. It has always led to disaster. Management have offered a very small improvement in our pay and talks on the hated appraisal system we have to undergo.

"I do not believe that any real improvements will come out of these talks. The appraisal system has to be scrapped altogether. Members will not be happy with this deal. The pay offer comes nowhere near to matching our needs.

"We are leaving other sections of the union in the lurch. The government and the bosses are offering us this now because they are worried about the effect our action could have. We can win more if we strike hard. We have two weeks to pile the pressure on the group executive and make sure that they go ahead with the action."

Some 20,000 workers in the Home Office, Department of Constitutional Affairs (which covers the court service), the prison service and Treasury solicitors will still be on strike on Thursday and Friday.

Clayeon McKenzie, the chair of the PCS Home Office branch, says, "It's not acceptable for a sizeable percentage of our members to be forced to claim benefits. That's why we are striking."

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Sat 31 Jan 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1886
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