Socialist Worker

Civil service: Wick wins work after powerful campaign

by John Davidson, PCS Revenue & Customs group executive
Issue No. 2262

Eighteen workers in Revenue & Customs’ northernmost mainland office have won their long-running campaign against closure and redundancy.

The Wick office in the Highlands has been threatened with closure since 2004, when New Labour announced 104,000 civil service job cuts.

This year, as the closure date approached, the PCS union and local members launched the Wick Wants Work campaign.

The experienced staff are just the people needed to close the £120 billion tax gap. But instead the government wanted to waste money sacking them. Proportionally, the loss of 18 jobs from Wick is the equivalent of thousands being lost in London.

PCS group executive committee member Hamish Drummond and local rep Allan Tait helped the Wickers win substantial support from their local MP and MSP.

They also lobbied the neighbouring constituency of MP Danny Alexander, the first secretary to the treasury.

Our banner was at the Highland TUC conference, the STUC conference, and at the PCS conference in Brighton.

Stickers, badges and leaflets were distributed, a Facebook group and online petition were set up and I chaired a hustings event in Wick for candidates standing in the recent Scottish parliament elections.

The staff all rejected voluntary exit offers.

Last week management announced that the office will remain open until at least 2014.

The government has been forced into yet another U-turn, and we can all take heart from this David vs Goliath victory.

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