CIVIL SERVANTS working in the new Job Centre Plus offices were kicked in the teeth last week by the government's announcement that 20,000 jobs will go in the next four years.
'This is an attack on services and jobs,' says Dave Owens, a PCS civil servants' union branch secretary in Liverpool. 'Management already want to cut the number of jobs in Job Centre Plus by 8.15 percent by March 2003. Now they want a 15 percent cut in four years. The 'natural wastage' will go amongst the administration staff because they are at the sharp end and most demoralised. In Liverpool we have put in a submission for industrial action over staffing. The union needs to organise nationally. We have to fight these cuts.'
'There are already massive problems coping with the work,' says Phil Pardoe from central London PCS. 'The PCS London regional committee has called on all London branches to test out whether members will be ready to take industrial action.'
PCS MEMBERS in the Job Centre Plus office voted by four to one to accept their pay deal on a 53 percent turnout.
AROUND 5,000 civil servants in the PCS union are set to strike this Friday in DEFRA, the merged former agriculture ministry and department of the environment. The workers are angry about the pay disparities in the new department. They voted by two to one in favour of action.
The union has called the action after workers in the department that makes payments to farmers did not receive a new pay offer. Workers in that department will strike for the whole day on Friday to protest against the lack of an offer. They will be joined in the afternoon by the rest of the department.