Socialist Worker

Vote yes for action in civil service ballot

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2341

The ballot of some 250,000 civil service workers in the PCS union for industrial action is heating up.

It has been provoked by government attacks on pay.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the attacks are “built on the lie that hardworking civil servants are paid too much”.

The union is also asking members to vote yes for strikes to stop the government’s attacks on pensions.

Workers are expected to work until they are 68 and pay increased contributions.

This will have an impact on future generations of workers. PCS members also face attacks on their terms and conditions. Flexible working contracts are under threat.

In September last year, the government wrote to human resources managers in the public sector.

It asked them to review “annual leave, privilege leave, occupational sick pay (OSP), hours of work, mobility and probation” among other hard fought for rights.


Any changes to flexible working will particularly affect women workers with childcare responsibilities.

Helen Franklin works for the HM Revenue & Customs in Nottingham.

She said, “Being able to work while my children are in school, and when I can afford childcare, means that life is less chaotic than it could be.

“These changes will mean I could have to organise childcare at short notice or work late for a whole week and struggle to pay the bills.

“The government goes on about how they want people in work. So why make it so hard for women with children to do a day’s work?”

Workers are preparing to hold workplace meetings to build the vote.

Marianne Owens, who works for the Department for Work and Pensions in Cardiff, is planning to hold car park meetings.

“We’ll be getting people together so that people know about the issues and feel like they can fight,” she said.

The ballot ends on 4 March.

Department for Education workers vote for strikes

PCS members in the Department for Education have voted for strikes against job cuts. Some 63 percent of those voting backed strikes and 86 percent supported action short of a strike.

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