Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 February 2004

Striking for a decent wage

TENS OF thousands of PCS members in the DWP (JobCentres and benefit offices) and the Driving Standards Agency went on strike on 16 and 17 February against low pay. Strikers spoke to the socialist about their action.

"We'll keep up the pressure"

THE STRIKE action in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Driving Standards Agency has been incredibly well supported.

Janice Godrich, president of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)

In the DWP we've seen 85%-90% of members supporting the strike. It's quite clear that their attitude to the dispute and their willingness to support the strike hardened after management reneged on a previous commitment to negotiate with the union.

The employer now needs to take members views on board and enter into serious negotiations to deal with the problems of low pay, pay deals below inflation and a discriminatory performance and appraisal system. If they don't enter into those negotiations it is clear members' attitudes will continue to harden. The union will keep up the pressure on the employer with a work to rule and further unpaid strike action to try and achieve our aims. There will be a PCS conference on 6 March to discuss the way forward.

High turnout in Brighton

At Brighton JobCentre the strike turnout was higher on the second day, with 80-85% out on Monday and 90% out on Tuesday. People were joining the union on the picket line.

Mark Everden, PCS Brighton

In an office in Hastings, a non-member went to work, then came running out after an hour and asked for a membership form saying, "I can't stay in there any more". The big Child Support Agency office in Hastings had its first picket line ever.

It was not evenly supported - all the staff in the small JobCentre in Chichester went to work but the manager came out on strike!

Thomas House, a Socialist Party member at Sussex University, spoke at the strike rally about the AUT strike and the NUS week of action on fees (see back page). There were messages of support from local trade unions like the FBU and the trades council and postal workers respected the picket lines.

Other messages were received from a tutor from the Trade Union College of Finland, who had visited Brighton a couple of years ago and Annie McDonald from the Las Vegas Culinary Workers union, local 226. This is the biggest union in Las Vegas.

Solidarity in Leicester

DESPITE MANAGEMENT propaganda that even Goebbels would have been proud of, and the fact that the union was not allowed to use email to communicate on any matters to do with industrial action, members' response was emphatic.

PCS member, Leicester

One of the highlights was when four casual staff from Charles Street Jobcentre Plus office who went to work on the first day of the strike, decided to stand on the picket line on the second day.

They said they didn't realise that pickets were actually decent people just defending other staff and not the aggressive animals management would have them believe.

This was very brave of them as casual staff in DWP can have their contract revoked at any time.

I was told that management stated that only a third of staff stayed away from work on both days. Nobody actually knows where management pluck these figures from but from the picket lines I attended it was clear that only minimal staff attended work and these were mainly non-members.

Hopefully this will send a message to our draconian management that they may have severely slashed official trade union time given to reps, but they won't break the solidarity shown by our members time and time again on disputes.

"IT'S NOT just an issue of low pay, although there's thousands of workers on less than 15,000, but also the issue of appraisals, which sticks people in pay bands. People end up doing the same job but being paid differently.

Management are also trying to break the union by cutting back on facility time and making it difficult to organise."

Jane Macbeth, PCS rep, Southampton benefit office

I'VE ONLY worked here for three months and I'm already on strike. I'm from France where workers have more of a tradition of going on strike. It's not just about pay, its about working conditions as well. Sometimes I just don't want to go to work in the morning.

Melanie, Leytonstone JobCentre

DEVOLVED PAY bargaining sucks! We have 150 different bargaining units, which is good for bosses but not workers. It makes the largest departments have the lowest in wages."

PCS member, Brighton

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

In The Socialist 21 February 2004:

Low paid say: "Enough is enough"

Striking for a decent wage


United To Defend Education

Socialist Party Councillors Say No To Top-Up Fees

Strike action is not truancy

Fighting to change the NUT

"Jack is walking!"... but the system is failing

Workplace news and analysis

Belfast Airport Workers Win Trade Union Inquiry

Unions Mobilise Against BNP

Privatisation Kills

Socialist Party feature

Socialist Party conference 2004: Socialism On The March


Home   |   The Socialist 21 February 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleDWP to outsource more work to Capita

triangleSheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

trianglePlymouth PCS members fight relocation threat

triangleFight expansion of disastrous 'Universal Credit' welfare system

triangleUN slams Tories for disabled rights ruin


triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts

triangleStrike together for better pay

triangleBrighton: NSSN rally at the TUC Congress

triangleSocialist Party PCS conference meeting: How Corbyn could win with socialist policies


triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

trianglePCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

The Socialist:

triangleCoventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

triangleThe Socialist Inbox


triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation


triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation

Low pay:

triangleBosses say 217 years to close pay gap - workers' struggle can close it now!


triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee



Unite protest against blacklisting


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm



BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes



Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test



School staff strike against privatisation



Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services



PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference


North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters


Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest



Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000



TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections



Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students



Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

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



December 2017

November 2017

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