Socialist Worker

New strategy is urgently needed now

by Phil Pardoe, DWP group executive (personal capacity)
Issue No. 1910

HUNDREDS OF civil servants in the PCS union were set to lobby parliament on Wednesday of this week as part of our long-running dispute against low pay.

Civil servants are shocked and angry about Gordon Brown outlining 80,000 job cuts across the civil service on Monday of this week.

Workers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) struck for two days in February and in April over pay and the imposition of a discriminatory performance pay system.

This is a massive attack on the union in the civil service, particularly the DWP where there will be 30,000 job cuts.

This means that 550 out of 650 benefits offices and two pensions centres are set to close, devastating the service to the public.

Strikes in the DWP are set for Thursday 29 and Friday 30 July.

We need two responses to the attacks on our jobs and pay. The first is an escalation of the dispute inside the DWP.

A strategy of three two-day strikes in six months cannot be taken seriously by anyone.

Some people in the union are saying that the issue is now jobs, not pay.

But we have to fight on every issue and put the argument for the escalation of the pay dispute.

There also needs to be a national strike across the civil service over jobs.

We want to fight and we want to do it now. Those jobs are going now.

The employer is setting the criteria for redundancies, targeting people who have got lower “box markings” in their assessments and have had sick absences.

There is discrimination against union reps. In east London bosses have spent three months trawling for complaints against Charlie McDonald, a PCS branch secretary and London regional secretary.

He now faces three charges of serious misconduct during the strikes.

East London is the best organised PCS branch in London. This is a general attack on the union.

Union activists have to call workplace meetings, branch committee meetings and branch meetings to urgently discuss the pay and jobs fight.

We have to demand our national executive call national strike action.

The pressure and anger from rank and file members can have a big influence on this fight for jobs, decent pay and services.

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Article information

Sat 17 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1910
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