Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/331/5600
Strike Back Against Low Pay
OVER 100,000 civil servants, PCS members, in five departments have voted decisively for industrial action over pay. (See below)
In the biggest department, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) the workforce is particularly angry, having had a derisory 2.6% pay deal imposed on them. Management are also forcing through a divisive performance-related pay scheme.
During the ballot, it was clear in the pay campaign meetings that PCS members were prepared to take action to support their claims. In anticipation of a vote for action, the PCS leadership in the DWP announced a two-day strike on 29-20 January. Strike rallies across the country will be held on those dates.
This will be followed by a conference for branch secretaries in February and further strikes in February and March.
The union leadership in the other departments will be making similar plans now the ballot results are known.
A senior Whitehall official has already told the BBC that strike action would be "indefensible" and that ministers are preparing to stand firm.
But the union has pointed out a £100 million underspend in the core running costs of the DWP. So the money is there for a pay rise in line with inflation and to take the lowest-paid out of poverty.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka drew attention to the scandal of low pay in the civil service when he said during the strike ballots: "The people being balloted on industrial action aren't your bowler-hatted Sir Humphreys, these are people who are low paid, delivering key frontline services and in many cases in receipt of the very benefits they hand out."
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Constitutional Affairs
In The Socialist 24 January 2004:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis