Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/750/16053
DfE strike ballot
Robbie Faulds , PCS education group president, personal capacity
Members of the PCS union working in the Department for Education (DfE) are balloting for strike action, and action short of a strike, in opposition to plans to close six out of 12 offices and slash 1,000 jobs (25% of the workforce).
Education secretary Michael Gove is using the department as an ideological testbed for wider civil service cuts.
Workers are demanding the department enters meaningful negotiations over the cuts and future workloads, as well as the withdrawal of a hated performance management system, which 97% of members rejected in a ballot at the end of last year.
Union members are in no doubt that the cuts will lead to compulsory redundancies, with the department making the bulk of the cuts over the next few months and with few other civil service jobs to apply for.
Those that remain in the department will face increased workloads, and will be left to explain to the public why many of the services they relied on are no longer provided.
There is already concern that the running of the DfE has become highly politicised, with Tory donors being brought in as non-executive directors and party hacks employed as special advisors.
PCS union members in other departments have expressed their support for any possible action in the DfE, fully aware that if the cuts are forced through then similar exercises are likely to follow in other areas.
PCS members are determined to fight back against the assault, and will seek to join up any action with other education unions if at all possible.
In The Socialist 30 January 2013:
Socialist Party NHS news & campaigning
Socialist Party news and analysis
Fighting the cuts
Workplace news and events
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party reports and campaigns