Socialist Worker

Civil service workers in walkout to stop Tories’ austerity

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2345

PCS union members walk out against cuts

PCS union members walk out against cuts (Pic: Euston PCS members)


Some 250,000 civil service workers were set to strike on Wednesday of this week to defend their pay, pensions and conditions.

The PCS union members see their walkout as part of a wider fight against the government’s austerity agenda.

And Wednesday’s strike is not just a one-off.

It is a launchpad for a three-month industrial campaign which will include more national and regional strikes, a work to rule and an overtime ban.

Steve West is a member of the PCS DWP group executive committee. 

He said, “The solidarity that other trade unionists, supporters and campaigners show us on strike days has a huge effect. 

“PCS members gain confidence that we have public support for the action we’re taking. 

“It also helps us to convince other workers that it’s right to strike and fight back.”

The PCS has called a half day strike on 5 April—the day that pension contributions increase again for members. 

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has called on other union leaders to call action with the PCS.

Winning

At a TUC pre-budget rally last week, Serwotka said, “We know that if we take action together we have a greater chance of winning. 

“On 26 of June, George Osborne will announce his comprehensive spending review which will confirm the butchering of public spending for the next three years.

“It would be brilliant if on that day, as he announces cuts in parliament, we see as many people as possible taking industrial action together, protesting together and demonstrating together. 

“If we build that movement we can turn our aspirations into reality, and god knows our people deserve it.”

The NUT and NASUWT unions have called a regional strike.

Unfortunately this takes place the day after the spending review—on 27 June.

Civil service workers are angry at the way they have been treated by the government. 

The government announced the closure of 281 HM Revenue & Customs tax advice centres on Tuesday of last week.

Workers in London’s Euston Tower and in Nottingham offices walked off the job in response (see page 5). 

And in Birmingham 40 job centre workers in Sparkhill joined a car park meeting. 

One worker there told Socialist Worker, “There seems to be more people planning to strike than in previous disputes. 

“This is because of a combination of national issues and local ones. 

“Our management are aggressive in the changes they want to make, but people are now responding with resistance.”


Back the strike!

What you can do to support the PCS civil service workers’ strike

  • Visit your local picket line with your workmates and take banners, tea and food
  • Join the rallies taking place across Britain—find your nearest one at bit.ly/15Ot3sl
  • Do a collection for the strike fund and get your union branch or organisation to donate too
  • Invite a PCS striker to speak to your union branch or organisation to explain their dispute

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.