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Acas staff ballot for strike
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) reports that 650 members at the arbitration service Acas in 15 sites across England, Scotland and Wales are balloting for strike action over pay. The government and management are still refusing to negotiate six months after the 2007 settlement date.
The ballot closes on 29 February and the union is recommending a "rolling programme of symbolic one-hour strikes to be followed by industrial action short of a strike".
But why is the planned action short of a strike? These workers are in a very strong position as indicated by the government's recent announcements of new jobs and extra funding for Acas. (See the letter in last week's Socialist).
While 200 jobs would be welcome, why are we fighting cuts in jobs and services in the rest of the public sector? These 200 jobs are to assist top civil servants and government to do the bosses' bidding in holding down wages and cutting jobs of public and private sector workers.
All workers, many coming into struggle for the first time, need to be warned that Acas generally works in the bosses' favour. It will increasingly be used as a stalling mechanism to hold back wage negotiations and then wages themselves.
Many trade union leaders will try to convince angry members in disputes to refer their claim to Acas and will say that they can expect a fair deal.
Experience has demonstrated that the only organisation we can rely on is our own strength and unity and the threat of withdrawing our labour. This is the only language the greedy employers take notice of.
In The Socialist 27 February 2008:
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