Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 July 2005

Defending civil service jobs

NEW LABOUR'S civil service cuts programme is in crisis. Up to seventy civil service IT projects have received secret "red warnings" (potentially set to fail) according to the Public Accounts Committee. This is on top of the computer failures that have so far occurred - Tax Credits payments, immigration and national insurance records, Criminal Records Bureau and in the Child Support Agency and Jobcentre Plus.

John McInally, Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) National Executive Committee, personal capacity

When Gordon Brown announced 104,000 civil service job cuts last year, he was warned by PCS that his programme would result in service delivery failures. His 'modernisation' programme is based on driving out 'inefficiency' by installing new IT systems, centralising processes and setting up call centre networks. Also, encouraging use of electronic communication while reducing frontline services, slashing and privatising 'backroom' functions, office closures, relocation of work and privatisation.

All this is being driven by a government of 'enterprise' junkies who are hooked on an anti-public sector neo-liberal agenda that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, asserts the private sector delivers best.

New Labour is encouraging its private sector friends to enrich themselves by fleecing taxpayers of hundreds of millions of pounds for providing computer systems that are riddled with problems, and which allows them to rake in millions more to put them right.

'Consultants' are paid hundreds of millions to provide useless 'reports' stating the blindingly obvious. One such company recently pocketed 1 million from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by "revealing" staff needed to be better trained - a fact pointed out for free by PCS when management were warned cutting training provision would cause problems. You couldn't make it up!

Hardworking and committed civil servants bear the brunt of New Labour's failing strategy. In Jobcentres reports of assaults and abusive behaviour aimed at staff are increasing as services are reduced or cut altogether: Brown doesn't seem to understand it is people, not computers that provide services. In the Ministry of Defence a programme of mass privatisation is under way. While the impact of cuts is uneven across the civil service, virtually no one is exempt from their effects.

Ideological assault

To fight these attacks it is necessary to understand they are not based on whim, nor merely designed to "shoot the Tory fox" prior to the general election. The assault is ideological and intrinsically linked to the wider neo-liberal agenda that Blair and Brown are promoting.

All the main parties support the cuts. They are political in nature but can be defeated by building the strongest possible alliance of PCS, other unions and associated organisations, including those with a stake in preserving and improving public services.

The real battle is between the vast majority of society who require efficient well-run publicly owned public services and the private sector ideologues who, like Thatcher, believe there is no such thing as society and profit should rule supreme, even in provision of those vital services which set minimum standards for civilised life.

The analysis set out by the Left Unity-led PCS national executive, under the leadership of general secretary, Mark Serwotka and president, Janice Godrich is being confirmed almost daily - rather than improvements, the cuts programme is driving services to decline and destruction.

Civil servants are being radicalised. The cuts programme is accompanied by vicious assaults on terms and conditions and underpinned by an ideological offensive conducted by Blair's press allies that seeks to denigrate public sector workers.

The easy part is over for Brown, the loss of 13, 000 jobs in DWP, for example, has been mainly achieved by turnover, as staff go for jobs elsewhere. An operation that is clearly heading for big problems.

Increasingly workers understand that the chances of receiving redundancy "packages" is not on the agenda. The plan is to drive staff out by making their working life unbearable.

However these cuts are coming at a terrible price in terms of operational difficulties that, along with increasing staffing shortages, is plunging large areas of the civil service into crisis.

Workloads are dramatically increasing, stress is of epidemic proportions, management are instituting punitive application of absence and sickness procedures, morale is at rock bottom.

In areas where the cuts are hitting hardest, ministers and officials are in a state of denial about the chaos, which will grow if they continue on their present course.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 21 July 2005:

Troops out of Iraq

No to terror! No to war!

Hospital workers condemn terrorism and war

Workers maintain class unity

Iraq: War and occupation bring growing misery

al-Qa'ida: US imperialism's deadly legacy

Stop the War Coalition's missed opportunity

Karl Marx: the greatest philosopher of all time

Hands off our housing

Judge lets rail bosses walk free

Ted Heath, Tory premier who took on the workers and lost

Defending civil service jobs

Delegates fight to defend democracy at TGWU conference:

National finance meeting success


Home   |   The Socialist 21 July 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Civil Service:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleBalloting members on the pay cap

triangleCoordinated action needed to break pay restraint

triangleCourt victory for PCS and all trade unions


triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleMonarch abdicates responsibility to workers


triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

triangleSocialist Party PCS bulletin: Scrap the pay cap

triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

John McInally:

triangleIncreased majority for Democracy Alliance

trianglePCS election: Vote Democracy Alliance


triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice