Socialist Worker

Civil service workers across Britain protest against cuts

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2359

Protesting in Manchester

Protesting in Manchester (Pic: Martin Empson)

Tens of thousands of civil service workers in the PCS union have been protesting against austerity around the country today, Thursday.

Angry at George Osborne’s announcement yesterday of deep cuts to the public sector they demonstrated outside workplaces and attended rallies during their lunch breaks.

More than 100 joined a noisy rally outside HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) headquarters in London.

PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh addressed the crowd saying, “There is no respite from these cuts. We are consulting members and reframing our national demands for the next stage of action.”

He added “The PCS hold the door open to every trade union” to get co-ordinated action against the cuts.

Lively protests took place in cities and towns across Britain. Among them were a protest in the rain outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and vibrant rallies in Manchester and Plymouth.

A rep told Socialist Worker, “There’s no alternative to strikes. It’s clear from the spending review the Tories are coming for us. We have to fight back.”

Booing George Osborne on the London rally

Booing 'George Osborne' on the London rally (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Many PCS members have struck during the last three months as part of their national campaign against cuts to jobs, pay and working conditions.

However the lunchtime protests were called in place of the national strike that the union’s conference in May voted for.

“The strike should have gone ahead. I came here to show solidarity, because we have to come together to show we are strong.” Gnabressou Gbode, a PCS member in the Passport Office, told Socialist Worker.

Teachers in the NUT and NASUWT unions are striking today in the north west of England.

Angry in Edinburgh

Angry in Edinburgh (Pic: Chris Newlove)

PCS members protested in solidarity with the striking teachers, with hundreds of people attending a rally in Liverpool. Members of the NUT executive attended the rally.

Dave Owens, a PCS member in the Department of Work and Pensions in Liverpool told Socialist Worker of the frustration of not being out on strike with the teachers. “At our workplace, 150 PCS members attended a meeting on pay. Questions were asked about why we weren’t on strike.

“The mood is there. At the meeting we had a vote on whether we should strike and there was a unanimous yes result. It’s a missed opportunity. We should be out with the teachers.”

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