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Building Support Amongst Other Trade Unionists
MARION LLOYD, a member of the PCS national executive committee, recently spoke at rail union ASLEF's national conference. Extracts from her warmly received speech follow:
"Imagine the horror of thousands of civil service workers, when a New Labour government was caught on the telly, laughing and cheering as Gordon Brown, who our branch has renamed the "Chancellor of the Axechequer", heralded the loss of 104,000 of our jobs.
We all know that this government has an agenda of cuts and privatisation and their numbers don't add up. The government uses taxpayers' money to hold up big business, many of which show a total disregard for the workers they employ. They ignore public opinion over renationalisation of the railways and pay £ billions in subsidies to the private companies. They should be investing this money in the public services and renationalising to improve the services and facilities we rely on.
This government is playing politics with people's lives - behaving like any other rogue employer.
Except in this case, rather than text us, they announced thousands of job losses over the TV with absolutely no consultation with our trade unions.
They are embarking on a frenzy of public sector cuts, trying to out-Tory the Tories in an attempt to win votes at the next general election.
What's more, they wrap this up in a tissue of lies in an attempt to con people that they're putting more money into the front line. You tell me how closing 500 benefit offices gets more into the front line. Tell me how cutting 40,000 job centre staff adds up when there are only 17,000 workers in that department who do not work face to face with the public.
British Airways embarked on a so-called efficiency drive and cut staff to the bone. The result was queues, cancellations and chaos. With too few staff to deliver a service, customers were left frustrated and angry.
But it's one thing to have your flight to New York cancelled and another to have your pension or your tax credit delayed.
A national attack must draw a national response and PCS members are balloting for a national one-day strike for the first time since 1993, as part of our wider strategy. Many of our members will not have been on strike before but we cannot sit back and allow this government to ride roughshod over the essential services we provide and sack 104,000 of us.
We are working tirelessly to build and deliver our strike action. PCS members up and down the country are overwhelmed by the support we are getting from our brothers and sisters in the whole of the trade union movement.
You can help us by getting the message across about vital services. Write to your MPs making them aware you're not happy. Write to Gordon Brown. Join our picket lines. Visit your local PCS branches and give advice and support. This will encourage members and help them recognise we're not alone.
If these attacks go unchallenged the services that everyone depends on throughout the country from the cradle to the grave will be decimated."
In The Socialist 9 October 2004:
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis