Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/416/4736
PCS launches jobs campaign
OVER 100 PCS members marched through the centre of Coventry on 12 November, against government plans to cut hundreds of jobs from regional Jobcentres and 550 jobs from the offices of the Learning and Skills Council in the city.
A Coventry Socialist Party member
They were joined by dozens more local trades unionists, many of whom had worked at famous employers Jaguar, Marconi, and Peugeot - all of whom had declared redundancies in the recent past.
And to rub salt into the wound, the night before the march the local NHS hospital announced 250 redundancies!
Speakers at the rally condemned the haemorrhage of jobs from Coventry and had sharp words for the government's role - inaction over manufacturing job losses, and direct responsibility for public sector job cuts.
Main speaker, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, lamented the lack of choice his members had faced at the general election, when: "Tories wanted 235,000 public service job cuts, Labour wanted 104,000, and the Liberal Democrats wanted targeted, compassionate job cuts" (!)
To those who, like a local TGWU speaker, wanted greater union engagement with the Labour Party, Mark responded: "My union hasn't given a penny to the Labour Party, and while I'm general secretary, we never will". His members clapped and cheered him.
The other main speaker, Councillor Dave Nellist of the Socialist Party, argued for an independent political voice for working people and further joint trade union action against job cuts. He called for a meeting for reps and shop stewards in the New Year. This should consider the changing economy of Coventry, including the sharp fall in recent years in manufacturing jobs and the Gershon-inspired cuts in the public sector, and to discuss a joint union response. The initiative was backed by a regional PCS speaker, and by Mark Serwotka.
The union co-ordinating committee which had planned the march and rally will meet again shortly to discuss further action.
For further details of PCS campaigns in Coventry contact Ian Devoy, PCS, Ian.Devoy@jobcentreplus.gsi.gov.uk
DWP strike ballot
OVER 90,000 civil service union PCS members in the Department for Work and Pensions are being balloted as part of the union's campaign against attacks on jobs, services and rights resulting from the so-called "modernisation" programme.
The ballot is due to begin at the start of December. If no settlement is reached the action will begin with a two-day group-wide strike, discontinuous action and an overtime ban.
In The Socialist 17 November 2005: