Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/759/16439
PCS: Striking against Con-Dem attacks
Build for joint action against austerity
On budget day, 20 March, members of the civil service union PCS walked out on a national strike against job and service cuts and attacks on their pay, pensions and terms and conditions.
PCS vice president John McInally spoke to the Socialist about the next steps in the dispute.
The strike on 20 March was excellent. There was an impressive turnout of PCS members up and down the country.
We saw picket lines in places which had never had picket lines before. We're very proud of the way that PCS members have reacted, bearing in mind it was PCS on its own.
It had a sharp impact on the government, which expected that the strike would not be well supported. It came across with the usual stuff about the strike not being very successful, but without any conviction.
Next we have a half-day strike on 5 April. The majority of PCS members will be going out at 1pm. Members in HMRC and the Valuation office will be on strike on 8 April. This is because there is a new system coming into HMRC on that day.
Management have been trying to threaten us and it is clear that they are edgy about the half-day strikes because they do cause major disruption. But we will make sure the strikes have the maximum impact.
We will continue with this action until the government is prepared to talk to us. If they think we will go away, they're making an extremely serious mistake.
I strongly support the National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC on 24 April, calling on it to name the day for a 24-hour general strike.
The TUC's policy for joint coordinated action was moved by the PCS, that's been our position for a number of years now.
The TUC and the trade union movement in general really need to get their act together. There can be no excuses.
The government think they can isolate PCS and members are asking us why other public sector workers are not on strike.
Dave Prentis of Unison did speak about the 'Unison spring', he did say they were going to tackle the pay freeze - well spring has come and it's time to join us. The TUC should be coordinating that joint action as a matter of priority.
Chancellor George Osborne stands up in parliament and defends his benefit cuts. But this is not a strong government.
These welfare cuts are an attack not just on the unemployed and disabled but on millions of low paid and middle income earners.
They're trying to make us pay for what their friends in the banking industry did, but there is huge opposition.
The TUC must organise a nationwide campaign in the workplaces and in the communities to fight the welfare cuts.
But the easiest way to stop these attacks is to apply the TUC policy of joint coordinated strike action.
National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC General Council
Name the date for a 24-hour general strike!
Wednesday 24 April, from 8.30am outside TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
In The Socialist 3 April 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
Fighting the Bedroom Tax
Socialist Party reports and campaigns