Socialist Worker

Strike shocks DWP bosses

Issue No. 1999

Around 85,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union struck on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) workers were taking action against 40,000 job losses that will devastate the vital services they provide. We print reports from around the picket lines

This action has been incredibly well supported in Oxfordshire and Bucks. In Aylesbury, where there has never been a picket line during a strike until this year, there were six pickets and only 14 staff went in. In January some 50 percent of staff crossed the picket line.

Kate Douglas, joint branch secretary Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire

The strike has gone very well in central London. There is a mood of defiance and a similar level of support to our previous action back in January, which was very successful.

This is despite the long gap between strikes. The reality for members is that things are getting worse in the offices because of job cuts.

We want the government to make concessions. If it doesn’t, I think the members are willing to take more action.

Rob Bryson, Central London DWP branch secretary

The strike has been successful again in Devon.

The next group executive meeting is on 23 May. If there has been no movement from management I hope the executive will set further dates of action to keep the momentum up.

Paula Walsh, DWP group executive and Devon branch organiser

It has been very good. In my office in Liverpool only ten out of 170 staff have gone into work—it was 13 in January. In the Child Support Agency 140 out of 1,000 went in. The strike was as well supported as last time.

Dave Owens, DWP north west organiser

The action went quite well in Fife, although not quite as well as in January.

We have had lots of public support with people tooting their car horns at us. One non-union member who crossed the picket line came back and joined the union after management asked him to do a job he wasn’t trained for. The PCS regional secretary has said the strike is going very well in Glasgow.

Steve West, campaigns coordinator Fife branch

We have had as good a turnout in Sheffield as we have had in the past. People are now talking about what action we need to take next to win. The union needs to come up with something to take it forward.

Ian, Sheffield rep

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Sat 6 May 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1999
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