Civil service workers in the PCS union in London are moving towards further action against job losses. Chancellor Gordon Brown wants to slash 104,000 jobs across the civil service.
Many of the cuts are hitting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Workers at Harrow in west London have voted overwhelmingly to be balloted for indefinite strike action over the closure of their offices. A meeting of DWP union representatives from across London last week showed the anger in offices.
Martin John, a member of the PCS DWP group executive, told Socialist Worker, “The meeting was very positive and there was a lot of anger. There was also unity around the fact that the union needs to do something about these job losses.
“The union could be sanctioning strike ballots in London any time now. The job cuts in Harrow will affect mainly Gujarati women. People have been living with the reductions in staffing until now, but we will soon be getting to the point where they won’t live with it much longer.
“The cuts are having a dramatic effect upon delivery of services. The union is getting horror stories of how long it takes people to claim their benefits.”
Phil Pardoe, a PCS DWP group executive member, said, “The union has been running meetings in benefits processing centres across London. It has asked members whether they will boycott work from Harrow, are they willing to support discontinuous action in London, and are they prepared to take extended strike action.
“At the three meetings so far — in Stratford, east London and in Tottenham and Wood Green in north London — our members have voted heavily in favour of action on all three issues.”