Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/364/5975
Vote 'Yes': Strike Back Against Job Losses
CIVIL SERVICE workers in the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) are being balloted for strike action on 5 November against the government's proposed jobs slaughter.
Gordon Brown has his axe poised over 104,000 jobs. To make it worse, the highest-paid senior civil servants are to get up to 90% pay rises, according to a leaked Cabinet Office proposal.
Sir Richard Mottram, permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would see his salary go up from £170,000 a year to £323,000 a year over three years.
As a civil service worker commented: "That's these people's reward for destroying our jobs - the jobs of those who work in difficult conditions to provide essential public services."
Below some civil servants outline their reasons for voting 'yes' in the strike ballot.
"I AM furious that the government are lying to the public and attacking the services that are essential to the most vulnerable people in our communities.
"They say they're 'improving efficiency', but one of the first things they have done is close three benefit centres in my local area. They say they are cutting 'back-room' jobs. But you cannot attack those who support 'front-line' jobs without reducing services to the public.
"They are starting by attacking services for those who find it harder to be heard. I will definitely vote 'yes' in the forthcoming ballot."
Bernie Lyons, Bristol
"FEELINGS ARE running high in all areas of the Civil Service. I went to a meeting Tuesday night and there were speakers there from other unions and other departments.
"One of them was saying that the government implemented changes in his department about two years ago and because there was no fuss they're now trying it more widely.
"An example of this is in the DWP where they have had a new appraisal system imposed on them. This is done by percentages and staff are set against each other regardless of their actual performance. As this is linked to pay it's doubly unfair and that's the main reason DWP staff have been striking recently.
"On top of that the DWP are the hardest hit in the 104,000 job cuts so we have to make a stand. Otherwise the government will impose unfair rules and change civil service terms and conditions across the board.
"I feel very strongly about all of this, particularly our pension scheme."
PCS member, Bristol
The PCS website, www.pcs.org.uk, has details of union meetings and rallies. Details of the next few are below. There will also be meetings in Leeds and Sheffield, dates and venues have not been finalised.
London PCS rally to defend jobs: 4 October, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, 6.30pm. Speakers: Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, Bob Crow, RMT general secretary.
Croydon 30 September. Arnhem Gallery, Fairfields Halls, 12.30 to 1pm.
Manchester: 30 September. Members' meeting, Friends Meeting House, Mount St, (next to Central Library). 12.30pm - 1.30pm.
Coventry: 6 October, Methodist Hall, 12.00 - 1.00pm.
Plymouth: 6 October, members' meeting. Woodland Fort Community Centre, Crown Hill. 12.30pm - 1.30pm.
Telford: 6 October, members' meeting. St Georges Sports Centre and Social Club, Church Road.12.30pm - 2.00pm.
In The Socialist 2 October 2004:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis