Socialist Worker

PCS activists fight for yes votes as civil service ballot enters last week

by Sarah Ensor
Issue No. 2342

Some 250,000 PCS union members in the civil service have entered the last week of a strike ballot over attacks on their pay, conditions and pensions.

Activists have been campaigning hard for yes votes both to strikes and to action short of a strike.

The ballot ends on Monday of next week.

Paul McGoay, a senior PCS steward in the Home Office, spoke to Socialist Worker about the campaign.

He said, “We’ve been leafleting and the meetings have been very well attended. I’m confident we’ll get a yes vote.

“We didn’t join the civil service for the money but now the few benefits we did have—like flexible working—are being ripped up.

“Our pensions have been attacked and our pay has flatlined for years.

“We’re angry about the moderation, performance management system as well.”

PCS activists have organised meetings, leafleting and “bring your ballot to work” days.


At HMRC Compass House in Southampton last week everyone who brought their ballots in got cakes and “I've voted yes” stickers.

PCS members and officials organised leafletting at key workplaces in central London on Friday of last week.

They included the Ministry of Justice, New Scotland Yard, the Department for Education and the Department for Business and Skills.

Activists say the response was “very positive” and that they are recruiting new union members through the activity.

PCS activists have made a video that explains the case for the strike and allows members to explain why they are voting yes.

Members can use this in meetings to build the yes vote.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said, “If they won’t talk to us at the moment, we have to put the pressure on them.”

Civil service workers’ pay has been slashed by a two-year pay freeze that was followed by a 1 percent pay cap.

This was well below the rate of inflation.

On top of that the government has attacked pensions. Workers now have to work until they are 68 and pay more in contributions.

The union is demanding a £1,200 pay rise, or 5 percent, for 2013.

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Article information

Tue 26 Feb 2013, 16:52 GMT
Issue No. 2342
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