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National strike ballot over pay in civil service

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Issue 2641
PCS members strike for pay in 2014
PCS members strike for pay in 2014 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Civil service workers are set to begin a national strike ballot next month.

Members of the PCS union are fighting for a 10 percent wage increase to end an attack on pay that has lasted almost a decade.

It means workers at most government departments could all strike this year.

The strike ballot is set to run from Monday 18 March until Monday 29 April. It means union activists have plenty of time to deliver a resounding vote for strikes—but work has to begin now.

The PCS union began its campaign to build up to the ballot with a “betrayed on pay” campaign this week.

The union is calling on activists to arrange leafleting sessions, campaign events and phone banks.

Candy Udwin from the union’s national executive committee spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.

She said the Tories’ Brexit crisis means that civil service workers have “immense leverage”. The government will rely on them to do the extra work that comes with leaving the European Union.

But she added, it’s important to move now. “Each branch needs to plan what it will be doing every week between now and the end of the ballot.

“We’re going to phone every member in the course of the first week. But having activists in each workplace is what persuades people.”

Workers in the West Midlands who manage people’s claims for the Universal Credit (UC) benefit could strike over workload.

Members of the PCS union at UC service centres in Walsall and Wolverhampton say there is understaffing at the centres.

It causes delays which mean misery for claimants and stress for workers.

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