Workers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in London will soon be balloting for strike action against job losses.
A meeting of the DWP group executive of the PCS civil service workers’ union on Tuesday this week decided unanimously to ballot its members.
The cuts in the DWP will mean that a third of the workforce will lose their jobs.
Combined with the Lyons Review, which is relocating work out of London, this means that 2,000 jobs will go in London over the next year — some 15 to 20 percent of the workforce. There is no reduction in the amount of work.
Benefit processing centres in London are being closed. Some work is being moved to other offices in east and south west London, although most is going to be moved to Belfast, Glasgow or Wigan.
A lot of workers are being declared surplus and pressed to move to other parts of London. Even areas with no processing work are seeing big job cuts.
There is a big threat to jobs and local services, and increased pressure on the remaining staff.
Workers in Harrow, west London, who are mainly Gujerati women, have voted to be balloted on taking indefinite strike action against the closure of their office.
Management have made concessions, but these are insufficient to guarantee jobs.
As well as balloting London-wide, the union will also look at balloting for more extensive action in some locations.
The cuts in the civil service have been going on for some time and are set to get worse. This dispute is important for the PCS union and has implications for the government’s job cutting programme.
Left election victory
The left has won the national executive elections in the the PCS union. The joint Left Unity-PCS Democrats slate won 27 out of the 35 seats.
Janice Godrich was re-elected president with 22,512 votes, winning over 10,000 votes more than her nearest rival.
Socialist Worker supporter Sue Bond was re-elected as vice president of the union.
Martin John, another Socialist Worker supporter, was also re-elected to the national executive.
For the full results go to www.pcs.org.uk