Socialist Worker

PCS - escalate the campaign against government cuts

by Anna Owens, branch secretary, PCS R&C Euston Tower
Issue No. 2352

More than 12,000 civil service workers in the PCS union were set to take action this week.

Workers in a range of organisations including government commissions, regulatory bodies, and non-ministerial departments and parliament are staging short walkouts on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The action is against government attacks on their pay, pensions and working conditions.

There was a national strike last month and the union is now involved in a rolling campaign of sectional action. 

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

But the momentum needs to be built for a national unified series of strikes.


PCS strike at Department for Education

PCS union members at the Department for Education walked out for two hours on Wednesday of last week.

Six of the DfE’s 12 offices are marked for closure, putting about 500 jobs at risk.

All Whitehall departments have to find savings of around a third by the next election as a result of spending cuts announced in 2010.

Education secretary Michael Gove has announced he would halve administrative costs. The PCS has accused Gove of using his department as an “ideological test bed” for wider civil service cuts.

The union’s general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said, “Ministers are ignoring all reasoned argument and pressing ahead with cuts and closures that are clearly purely political.”


New attacks in HM Revenue & Customs

HM Revenue & Customs bosses announced the imposition of new, worse, terms and conditions on Friday of last week. The changes will mean that all staff are now blocked from promotion unless they sign away their existing terms and conditions.

Last month saw over 1000 workers in Bootle, St John’s House and the Triad tax office walk out in protest over management reneging on an annual leave agreement. 

Similar walkouts took place at Edinburgh. The action sent management into a panic and improvements have since been made. 

John Smith, the branch secretary of Bootle branch said, “When workers act collectively, they can force movement from management. 

When they try to ride roughshod over our needs PCS members will not stand for it.”

Activists need to ensure that this spirit of resistance is taken to PCS conference to ensure strikes on 26 June and maximum action  organised alongside other unions in the months ahead.


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Tue 7 May 2013, 18:58 BST
Issue No. 2352
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