Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/467/1895
300,000 PCS members vote in national ballot
VOTE 'YES' AGAINST JOB CUTS AND LOW PAY
THE PUBLIC and Commercial Services union (PCS) is balloting its 300,000 members for strike action against job cuts, low pay and deteriorating working conditions. The ballot starts on 2 January for action starting with a one-day national strike on 31 January. A two-week overtime ban will start on 1 February.
A worker in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea urges fellow PCS members to vote 'yes' in the ballot.
ACROSS THE civil service we face major issues around job losses, pay, privatisation and service delivery.
I work in an area that, so far, might not seem as bad as areas like the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). But the reality is that DVLA faces all the same major issues.
It's only a question of scale and the speed of the cuts. None of us can escape and the time to fight back is now.
A few years ago, the DVLA estates management contract was awarded to a PFI company called LS Trillium. As it's getting closer to Christmas, everyone is keen to get into 'party mode' after a hard year and with things getting worse.
But last week, LS Trillium issued a circular to staff saying that we had to take down Christmas decorations. There was nearly an explosion of anger and they were forced to back down.
How much more are we supposed to take? A few weeks before, senior management in effect took away our breaks by forcing us to 'key out' [clock out] to make personal errands. We're determined to fight back on this.
LS Trillium are refurbishing the building I work in. It's like working on a construction site. Almost everyday we get dust and chemical fumes through the vents, really loud drilling and extremes in temperatures, all making staff ill.
Apparently, Christmas decorations go against the 'spirit' of our new working methods. We endure 'non-territorial working' - management double speak for hot-desking. This means we move desks and remove 'personalised' items everyday.
We suspect that all these measures are initiatives from the many private consultants at DVLA. IBM even has a seat on the executive board. We are sick of being turned into overworked robots and the Christmas decorations were the last straw!
Everyday, the government wastes millions on vastly over-paid consultants determined to cut jobs and services to the bone. Meanwhile, a quarter of civil servants earn less than £15,000 a year.
The threat of outsourcing, or privatisation, is linked with the job cuts. The government sees this as a cheap way of delivering public services.
500 jobs are due to go out of roughly 6,000 across DVLA as a whole by 2008. The agency has announced 'better quality service' reviews of all the major areas to look at the potential for outsourcing. What happens to our jobs then would be at the mercy of ruthless sharks like LS Trillium!
There's loads more to say but what's important is that DVLA PCS members are part of a national union determined to fight back against these attacks. That's where our strength lies - linking up with PCS members everywhere by voting 'yes' in the national ballot.
In The Socialist 15 December 2006:
War and terrorism
Violence against women
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
The Socialist Xmas quiz