Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/523/3846
The Socialist 4 March 2008 |
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No pay freeze
Unite for a living wage
PCS on strike 1 May 2007, photo Paul Mattsson
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has organised a national lobby of parliament on 11 March, bringing together all the PCS groups in dispute over pay and to coordinate political pressure against the public-sector pay freeze.
Katrine Williams, PCS DWP Wales secretary, personal capacity
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department for Transport and the Valuation Office Agency have all been taking action and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are about to take action over below-inflation pay offers for 2007.
Even PCS members working in the arbitration service ACAS have been forced to ballot for strike action over a derisory pay offer. Other public-sector unions have been invited to get involved in the lobby.
Brown's pay freeze of 2% for public-sector workers is driving our pay backwards. The imposed offers are even worse than the ones that the teachers and the police have rejected.
We hear a lot about supposed waste in the public sector but having over 250 different pay bargaining areas for our members is one area of 'waste' that we are campaigning to get rid of!
In the Department for Transport there are even completely different pay rates within the same department. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is one of the lowest-paying areas.
Management justify this because a large proportion of the staff work in Wales, so they have introduced regional pay through the back door. The Ministry of Justice imposed a regional pay experiment on PCS members last year.
The DWP-imposed three-year pay offer exposes the scam behind this government's statement that three-year deals would mean stability for public-sector workers - they would: "know where they are". Yes, we know where we are in the DWP, with our pay being driven backwards and 40% of staff getting a 0% pay rise this year and none of us getting an inflation-proofed rise.
This is now even more galling. The three-year plan published on 28 February, demands more cuts, with 12,000 more job cuts and 200 more office closures by 2011.
It even congratulates the fact that we will be paid on time this year. It hardly matters when a 0% pay rise is paid! We will not accept a 0% pay rise for our members. PCS members are determined that by sticking together we will get the living wage we deserve.