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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2013

PCS budget day strike - M20

Reports from the picket lines and rallies
PCS strike on budget day, 20 March 2013 with NSSN 24 hour general strike placard, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS strike on budget day, 20 March 2013 with NSSN 24 hour general strike placard, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

These are extracts from the many inspiring reports we received about the strike, longer versions of which are on the Socialist Party's website: PCS picket line reports

Central London was dotted everywhere with the yellow and blue of PCS flags and placards. One picket at the Passport Office said: "I normally hate getting up early but this morning I thought 'great!'"

Strikers felt that the PCS plan of three months of a campaign of action and trying to coordinate with other unions is what's necessary.

Everyone I spoke to thinks there should be a one-day general strike and agreed with the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of the TUC general council on 24 April that has been called to urge the TUC to name the date for a general strike.

Paula Mitchell
PCS strike on budget day, 20 March 2013, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS strike on budget day, 20 March 2013, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Catering staff for the House of Lords were in a defiant mood. Catering staff throughout parliament have already suffered 100,000 worth of cuts and are now being told they have to suffer further cuts in overtime rates and terms and conditions.

The staff have to work 14 or 15 hours a day to provide subsidised food for MPs and the Lords. The lowest paid are on only 900 a month, working a 40-hour week.

Meanwhile the members of the House of Lords get an attendance allowance of 300 a week just for turning up, plus a 54 a day meal allowance! No surprise the pickets were determined to take further action - hitting parliament in its stomach - if the government doesn't retreat.

Hannah Sell
PCS strike on budget day, 20 March 2013 with NSSN 24 hour general strike placard, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS strike on budget day, 20 March 2013 with NSSN 24 hour general strike placard, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Outside the Maple House Homes and Communities Agency office on Tottenham Court Road, housing workers in the Unite union were also striking and picketing, in coordination with the national PCS strike. The Unite workers were striking against a divisive and inequitable pay offer.

30-plus Unite and PCS workers were on the picket line. PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh, Unite branch secretary Suzanne Muna and Unite regional secretary Pete Kavanagh spoke to the strikers and supporters.

Strikers were keen to sign the NSSN general strike petition to make sure other unions join them in taking action next time.

Paul Kershaw and Sarah Wrack

Solid strike action by PCS members across Swansea and South West Wales meant most offices were fully closed or providing a limited service.

Socialist Party members visited picket lines across Wales. As one picket thanked us for our solidarity and support she reminded us that this was the first round of action and expected to see us again on 5 April!

Alec Thraves


National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC General Council

Name the date for a 24-hour general strike!
Wednesday 24 April, from 8.30am outside TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS

The 7th annual conference of the NSSN: 29 June 2013 11am - 5pm in the Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE

Speakers include union general secretaries Mark Serwotka, PCS, Billy Hayes, CWU and Steve Gillan, POA

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In The Socialist 27 March 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Bin the bedroom tax: Can't pay - Will stay!

NUT conference: Serious attacks require serious action

Cameron whips up immigration fears to divide movement against austerity

What does the budget really mean for the housing crisis?

Fight the destruction of our NHS across England and Wales

The 'workfare bill' and sanctions targets

Them & Us: Budget special

International socialist news and analysis

Cyprus bailout: Return of the eurozone crisis

South Africa: Workers and Socialist Party Launched

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS budget day strike - M20

Thera care workers prepare for action

Striking against the 'fast track to the sack'

Workplace News in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Sussex university occupation: 'they say privatise - we fight back and organise'

Why we're standing for TUSC

Sick of Your Boss gets going in London

Fighting the cuts: Birmingham and Exeter

Socialist Party appeals

The Socialist: readers' comments

Disability hate crimes - accomplices and victims

Danger: New secret courts in Britain


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