Socialist Worker

Home Office walkouts keep up the pressure

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2349

Thousands of Home Office workers began a week of action against government attacks on their pay, pensions and working conditions on Tuesday of this week.

The PCS union members were due to join a national strike on 8 April, but there was a legal challenge from management. This came alongside threats to take a whole day’s pay for a half-day  strike. The union postponed the walkout in response.

Home Office workers are now striking section by section. 

Immigration and settlement department workers kicked off the action with a one-day walkout on Tuesday. 

Ragesh, who struck at Home Office headquarters in London said, “We need as many PCS members as possible to demonstrate to management that they are willing to fight for their jobs, pay and pensions. There is a huge threat of redundancies throughout the Home Office.”

It is clear that PCS members are prepared to strike to protect and improve their living conditions.

But the strategy of calling small groups of workers out one by one has its pitfalls.

Smaller picket lines, and union members crossing them because their section is not on strike, can weaken solidarity and confidence. 

The union has also called a work to rule for Home Office staff which includes an overtime ban.

The PCS union has played an impressive role by continuing to strike against the government cuts. The hope is that other groups of workers can follow.

General secretary Mark Serwotka has put out a call for more united strikes by unions. 


Protest over sacked rep

PCS members at the Home Office have also been protesting against the compulsory redundancy of their branch secretary. 

Jon Bigger was dismissed after being declared “surplus”.

Yet Jon had applied for numerous roles in the Home Office, including many for which he was the only candidate.


Vote left in PCS elections

Elections for the PCS national executive open on 18 April. 

Socialist Worker supporters Marianne Owens, Andy Reid, Paul Williams and Sue Bond are standing on the Left Unity slate. The elections close on 9 May.

For the full list of Democracy Alliance candidates, go to www.leftunity.org


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Article information

News
Tue 16 Apr 2013, 19:00 BST
Issue No. 2349
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