The Socialist 18 January 2007
Labour Ministers make us sick
Fight the government's sell-off plans
THE CIVIL service union PCS will be announcing the result of their national ballot for industrial action on 23 January. Almost 300,000 PCS members have been voting in a ballot for national strike action against job cuts, low pay and cuts in services and working conditions. The first strike day is likely to be on 31 January, followed by a two-week overtime ban.
Under pressure from the "Public Services not Private Profit" campaign, the TUC have organised a "Speak up for Public Services" lobby of Parliament, also on 23 January.
John McInally, from the PCS national executive, spoke to the socialist in a personal capacity about the campaign: "I think most people would be surprised if they understood the scale and the depth of the government's cuts and privatisation plans.
They have already made the first steps in the privatisation of core work in the Department for Work and Pensions. They have a welfare 'reform' agenda which means bringing in private companies to do the work. They have gone ahead with the sell-off of £30 billion-worth of land and buildings.
And the private companies with the contracts are busily moving jobs. Siemens have plans to offshore more savings and banking jobs to India. So there's a direct link between cuts and privatisation.
There's a drive to privatise the justice system. There are already more private prisons in Britain than anywhere else and they want to privatise the probation service. It's no wonder they're keen to advertise any failings.
All this may appear to be crazy but there is a plan behind it. Cut resources, implement over-ambitious change programmes and massive cuts and drive down staff morale. Through that there's a reduction and a destruction of services.
There are service delivery problems and disasters, with backlogs and failing IT systems. They then claim that the civil service can't deliver - so the answer must be privatisation. That's why we're organising a fight-back against these ideological attacks."
TUC Lobby of Parliament 23 January, 11.30am. Rally in Central Hall Westminster at 12.30pm.
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