Workers at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) are fighting sackings brought on by Tory budget cuts.
EHRC workers in Glasgow began a five-day strike on Monday—the start of a nationwide wave of action after Tories slashed EHRC’s budget by 25 percent.
“The strike has been good so far,” one picket told Socialist Worker. “We’ve had 100 percent of our members out in Glasgow and we’ve had lots of support from other branches.”
Further walkouts are planned in London, Cardiff and Manchester.
EHRC sacked eight workers in February—a microcosm of the widespread job cuts that are gutting the public sector.
EHRC, which enforces equality and human rights laws, has had its funding cut by 70 percent since 2010. Strikers say the cuts make it harder for them to help victims of discrimination and human rights abuse.
Members of the PCS union have been fighting the latest cuts since November—and a number of those sacked are union reps.
They received their compulsory redundancy notices by email while out on strike.
Bosses have refused to reinstate the sacked workers despite vacancies.
“They hired a recruitment agency to fill 47 posts,” the striker said. “Our members should be redeployed or given training to fill those positions. But management are being intransigent and it seems the redundancies are targeted.”
EHRC workers in London are set to strike from Monday to Friday of next week, followed by Cardiff from 29 May-2 June and Manchester from 5 June-9 June.
Protest after Ministry of Justice sacks union rep
Activists in the PCS union are calling for urgent solidarity for a victimised union rep in the civil service.
PCS rep Bob Simm was sacked from his job at the Ministry of Justice’s Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) in Birmingham on attendance charges.
PCS said he was sacked after a period of absence relating to disability.
It added, “He is not the first member to have been unfairly dismissed under this punitive policy.”
Bob is appealing and PCS is considering taking the case to employment tribunal. His supporters were set to protest outside the OPG office in Birmingham this Thursday.
Left gains in union election
Results of elections to the PCS national executive committee (NEC) were released last Thursday.
The PCS Democracy Alliance, which includes the Left Unity group, increased its NEC majority by two.
Socialist Worker, whose supporters are part of Left Unity, was backing Democracy Alliance candidates.
Socialist Workers Party member Marianne Owens topped the ballot with 7,284 votes.