Socialist Worker

Strong strike against outsourcing, but PCS backs off from coordinated action

Issue No. 2377

Hundreds of members of the civil service workers’ PCS union struck on Friday of last week. 

They provide shared finance, HR and procurement services for the the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The strike was to protect jobs and services that face outsourcing to a private company. The union argues this would threaten the personal data of thousands of workers.

Over 20 strikers picketed the Defra office in York. 

PCS assistant general secretary, Chris Baugh, addressed the pickets. He said the union had recruited “hand over fist” in the run-up to the strike with very well attended section meetings. 

Delegations of local council workers, members of the lecturers’ UCU union, and PCS members from the DWP office brought solidarity to the strikers. 

But there was a feeling among the pickets that “we should all be out together”.

That feeling was echoed by Socialist Workers Party (SWP) members on the union’s national executive committee, after it failed to call for a national strike last week.

In a critical statement the SWP members said, “We believe that national coordinated action with as many unions as possible is the ideal we want to reach in order to have the best chance of winning.

“We need to take this forward by agreeing with other unions a series of common demands such as pay, pensions, and privatisation issues which run through every union.”


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Tue 29 Oct 2013, 17:25 GMT
Issue No. 2377
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