Socialist Worker

Up the tempo against job cuts in the DWP

by Rob Bryson, PCS DWP Central London branch secretary (pc)
Issue No. 1998

Some 85,000 civil service workers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are set to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week over government attacks on jobs, services and conditions.

The PCS union members struck successfully for two days at the end of January, rocking our employers. Our dispute is crucial for the future of the welfare state and public services.

The New Labour government is running the benefits system into the ground, with waiting times for the public – some of the most vulnerable people in our society – at unacceptable levels.

Many union activists and members are frustrated at the long gap between our strikes. The vast majority of activists have said that the PCS DWP group executive, which runs the union in the DWP, should be calling more action.

The strength of our previous action has started to get results. Bosses have offered concessions on the DWP’s draconian sickness procedures against workers.

Management has yet to move over our demands for a no compulsory redundancy guarantee and the job cuts themselves. However more determined action has every chance of shifting the employer.

The overtime ban remains in place and has generally been well supported especially in areas where union organisation is high.

Management tried moving work to Northern Ireland, but in a magnificent display of solidarity Nipsa union members there refused to take it.

It’s time to up the tempo of the dispute. The PCS DWP group conference meets in June. We need another strike before then followed by a serious debate at conference about what action we need to take next.

Over 3,000 PCS members working in 47 Learning and Skills Councils in England and the Coventry headquarters were set to take strike action on Friday of this week over job cuts.

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Sat 29 Apr 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1998
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