Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/728/14934
Solidarity with PCS members fighting to defend services
A dispute over job cuts and privatisation in the Home Office is likely to result in strike action on 26 July unless ministers begin meaningful negotiations.
In a vindication of the PCS union's argument about cuts, a home affairs select committee report has criticised the UK Border Agency - the largest agency in the Home Office - for failing to tackle a total casework backlog of more than 270,000. The report points out that the immigration group, the section with the largest backlog of work, has seen the biggest cuts in staffing.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "UKBA is clearly unable to cope and the backlogs are simply staggering... The Home Office simply cannot cut 8,500 jobs, a third of its workforce, and expect to maintain services to the public and the report exposes the folly of the department issuing compulsory redundancy notices to staff when it is clearly unable to cope with its workload."
Culture, Media and Sport secretary Jeremy Hunt has further inflamed the situation by raising the possibility of sacking Border Agency staff who go on strike at the start of the Olympics.
The Guardian also reported that London's mayor, Boris Johnson, is among senior Tory figures urging the government to introduce a new minimum vote threshold for strike ballots.
The Socialist has previously highlighted the hypocrisy of this - austerity chancellor George Osborne, for example, received only 37.6% of the electorate in May 2010.
Other proposals, that must be resisted with the full strength of the trade union movement, include setting basic requirements for public services during strikes which would cover transport, hospitals, education and border control.
As we go to press the government is reported to be seeking a high court injunction against the action.
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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 25 July 2012:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Stop NHS cuts & privatisation
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party appeal & news