Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/366/6004
The Socialist 16 October 2004 |
Join the Socialist
PCS Strike Ballot
Vote 'Yes' To Defend Jobs And Services
CIVIL SERVICE union PCS members are balloting for a one-day strike to
defend jobs and services. Meetings are taking place all over the country.
Marion Lloyd, PCS National Executive Committee member and chair of
the Department for Education and Skills PCS branch in Sheffield spoke to the
socialist about how the campaign is going.
"At a meeting in Sheffield I explained that a national attack from the
government demanded a national response. It is crucial that civil service
workers up and down the country demonstrate to the government that we aren't a
soft option. That we're prepared to demonstrate massive opposition to job cuts
and the attacks on our pensions and sick leave entitlements, together with
cuts to essential services which would be decimated in the process.
PCS members in Sheffield have a proud tradition of supporting other workers
in struggle and have collected £100's for the William Cook's workers, the Fire
Brigades Union (FBU) and most recently striking Sheffield bus drivers.
So a speaker from the FBU was particularly inspiring. He said he was glad
to have the opportunity to return the solidarity we have shown them.
Responding to a question about public opinion, he said that having public
opinion on your side would be nice, but it's not that which is going to win
our dispute. It will be solidarity between civil service workers standing side
by side that will win the dispute and that's why it's important that PCS
members vote 'yes'!
He went on to say that the FBU locally will do everything they can to
support us and that he will raise our dispute in the 28 members' meetings he's
got in the Yorkshire area in the next couple of weeks.
I've been speaking at meetings with big turnouts of PCS members in London,
the Birmingham area and Yorkshire and Humberside and I haven't found one
member who is opposed to the idea of a one-day strike.
When I say that there's a bit of a lottery going on between the three main
political parties about who can cut the most civil service jobs, members ask
questions about the union's relationship to the Labour Party. One person today
asked me if we were affiliated, when I said 'no' he said if we had been he'd
campaign for us to disaffiliate!
Others say: 'Who the hell are we going to vote for in the next election?'
So I've said: 'That's why we need an alternative.'
Our campaign is about saving jobs and protecting public services. We must
prevent job cuts for the sake of our members and the public - these are the
people who need high quality, accountable public services."
Fight The Cuts
- Build for the civil service strike on 5 November.
- Support civil servants in their fight to defend jobs and services.
- For a one-day public sector strike to unite the campaign against the attacks on public services.
- For a new mass workers' party that can provide a real alternative to New Labour.