Socialist Worker

Push for national pay fight in the civil service

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2646

Cleaners in the HMRC tax department protested in Liverpool last week as part of a campaign to win a £10 an hour minimum wage

Cleaners in the HMRC tax department protested in Liverpool last week as part of a campaign to win a £10 an hour minimum wage (Pic: @PCS4cleaners on Twitter)


Workers in the civil service began balloting for national strikes on Monday in a fight to smash low pay.

If the ballot—which is set to end on 29 April—results in a Yes vote, then workers at most government departments could all strike this year.

Members of the PCS union are fighting for a 10 percent wage increase to end an attack on pay that has lasted almost a decade. They have suffered years of below-inflation pay rises of just one percent—effectively pay cuts.

That means that in real terms the average civil service worker is now £2,110 a year worse off than they were in 2010.

The PCS is demanding a pay increase of 10 percent and a minimum wage of £10 an hour, rising to £11.55 in London.

At a time when government departments will rely on its workers to deliver over whatever happens on Brexit, a strike could be powerful. But Tory anti-union laws say the ballot needs to achieve at least 50 percent turnout.

Members and activists have to work hard to get the vote out. The PCS was set to hold a “Super Saturday” day of action this week, asking activists to volunteer to call members and remind them to vote.

But the key will be workplace organisation, with groups organising weekly activity to recruit and draw in new activists.


Strike over office closure

Workers at a HMRC tax office in Ealing, west London, were set to strike on Wednesday of this week.

Members of the PCS union planned to walk out for a half day strike from 12 noon.

They are fighting against the office’s closure which could see many workers forced into redundancy.

The closure is part of a plan to close 90 percent of HMRC offices and replace them with fewer than 20 sites.

Ealing workers are set for a further half day strike on Tuesday of next week, a full day strike on 3 April and a three-day strike beginning 10 April.

Messages of support to saveealingtaxoffice@gmail.com

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Tue 19 Mar 2019, 14:37 GMT
Issue No. 2646
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