18 May 2002
THE PCS civil servants' union conference began as Socialist Worker went to press. The union has been moving to the left since the election of socialist Mark Serwotka as general secretary in December 2000. This trend is now becoming even clearer.
04 May 2002
LEFT WING candidates have made gains in elections for the national executive of the civil servants' PCS union. Scottish Socialist Party member Janice Godrich has been elected president and Steve Cawkwell vice-president.
13 April 2002
A call has gone out to trade unionists to "Make May Day our day". The appeal is from former Labour MP Tony Benn, and Mark Serwotka, general secretary elect of the PCS civil servants' union. It slams New Labour's privatisation plans and anti trade union laws. It also points out how the government's war plans against Iraq are opposed by the majority of the population.
06 April 2002
Civil servants in the PCS union in DEFRA, formerly the Ministry of Agriculture, have voted to accept management's revised pay offer for 2001-2. Workers will receive increases from April 2000 of at least £2,000.
06 April 2002
Pressure for a united demonstration by public service workers against the government's privatisation drive is mounting. Delegates at the National Union of Teachers (NUT) conference voted last weekend to back a national anti-privatisation demonstration. That comes after the call for such a protest by Mark Serwotka, general secretary elect of the PCS civil servants' union. Other public sector workers now have a chance to press their unions to take up the call.
27 March 2002
The management of the government's new Jobcentre Plus scheme have made a new offer to civil servants in the PCS union working in job centres and benefits offices. Ballot papers were sent out this week. Union leaders are recommending that members accept the offer, but it falls far short of what members need. The dispute was centred on New Labour's plans to scrap safety screens in the newly amalgamated offices.
16 March 2002
STRIKERS FROM all over Britain lobbied the national executive meeting of the civil servants' PCS union last week. They were representing 750 people who work in the government's trial Pathfinder scheme which merges job centres and benefits offices. They have been on all-out strike since at least last October.
09 March 2002
The national strike involving tens of thousands of members of the PCS civil servants' union in job centres and benefits offices is hanging in the balance. The group executive committee, which runs the dispute, is calling for a one-day strike on Tuesday 2 April-the day the government's flagship Jobcentre Plus scheme is officially launched.
02 March 2002
The national dispute by tens of thousands of benefits office and job centre workers in the PCS civil servants' union has taken another major blow. The group executive committee, which runs the dispute and is dominated by the Left Unity group, decided on Monday of this week to recommend no action until a one-day strike for Tuesday 2 April. This is the day that New Labour's flagship Jobcentre Plus welfare scheme is officially launched.
23 February 2002
The national strike of tens of thousands of civil servants in the PCS union working in job centres and benefits offices is reaching a crucial point. We are striking over the removal of safety screens in the newly merged Jobcentre Plus offices.
16 February 2002
The government has made its third pay offer to workers in the DEFRA department under pressure from industrial action. The workers, members of the PCS union, used to work in the MAFF government department.
16 February 2002
Civil Servants working in job centres and benefits agencies are set to hold their next strike on 6 and 7 March. The workers, members of the PCS union, have held two-day strikes on two occasions since mid-December.
09 February 2002
New Labour is determined to break the national dispute involving tens of thousands of job centre and benefits office workers. The government wants to seriously weaken the strikers' PCS union. An internal document for MPs and managers says that the dispute is a "matter of principle" and that the government will not negotiate.
02 February 2002
A national strike by tens of thousands of civil servants in the PCS union on Monday and Tuesday of this week defied New Labour and bullying management. It is the second two-day strike by workers in benefits agencies and job centres. The first one was in mid-December. They are challenging the government's plans to remove safety screens in the newly merged benefits agencies and job centres-Jobcentre Plus. Reports were coming in as Socialist Worker went to press that strikers were holding firm.
26 January 2002
Tens of thousands of civil servants are set to strike next Monday and Tuesday. The workers are PCS union members in benefits offices and job centres. They are striking against New Labour's plans to remove safety screens in the amalgamated benefit agencies and job centres being set up.
19 January 2002
CIVIL SERVANTS who work in Britain's job centres and benefits offices are preparing for their next round of strikes on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 January. The action, by members of the PCS union, is a great opportunity to turn up the heat on New Labour and civil service management. New Labour increased its intimidation of strikers last weekend with the threat that people will not receive promised promotions if they continue to strike. "The decision makes clear the contempt in which management holds members' concerns," said Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary elect.
12 January 2002
ACTIVISTS IN the PCS civil servants' union who work in job centres and benefits offices are gearing up for their next major strike for safety at the end of this month. Around 40,000 civil servants struck in December against the removal of safety screens.
05 January 2002
THE NATIONAL strike by tens of thousands of Benefits Agency and job centre workers in the PCS civil servants' union has taken a major blow. This dispute saw 40,000 people strike for two days in mid-December against government plans to remove safety screens from the newly merged Jobcentre Plus offices.
22 December 2001
Tens of thousands of job centre and benefits office workers across Britain in the civil servants' PCS union struck on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. The union estimated that 40,000 people took strike action over the two days, while management claimed 32,000 struck. This is out of around 65,000 union members in the workplaces affected.
15 December 2001
Many strikers in the Pathfinder offices are angry and disappointed about their national leaders sending the majority of them back to work on Friday of this week. Because every striker received 85 percent strike pay the PCS's strike fund was drained.