Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/760/16481
PCS plans more action
Government refuses to talk
PCS members across the civil service followed their budget-day strike on 20 March with half-day strikes on 5 and 8 April.
PCS vice-president John McInally spoke to the Socialist about the strikes and the way forward in this battle over pay, pensions and terms and conditions.
The half-day strikes were a new strategy. In the past we've tended to concentrate on one or two-day strikes.
But the aim is to build pressure through disruption in order to get the CO to negotiate. The Cabinet Office sought to play down the strikes but they know they were really well supported and had a strong impact.
There were mass walkouts in many places such as the Department for Work and Pensions building in Glasgow.
There were meetings outside offices. There was massive disruption caused in all the departments. There was a very serious mood among the members and they are determined to fight back against attacks on their pay, jobs, terms and conditions.
Our members responded magnificently. We were really proud of them. In the run up to the strike we had to face a lot of belligerent activity from management, particularly in the Home Office, where they threatened to dock one day's pay for a half day's strike.
The members in the Home Office knew if the management got away with it there they would try it on elsewhere. So we decided to escalate the action.
From 15 April we'll have a section of the Home Office coming out on each day of that week, which will be highly disruptive.
There's a 24-hour walkout by Home Office members in the Disclosure and Barring Service [formerly the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority.] This will involve staff at the Darlington and Liverpool offices.
There was a 30-strong picket in Liverpool on 8 April.
In HMRC there was 90% taking action in Cumbernauld, 90% in Liverpool and 80% in Dundee. The Newry office in Northern Ireland was closed. In Leicester 300 people walked in after the morning's actions.
As well as the action in the Home Office there will be a series of group actions. It is possible there will be action as part of a 'Welfare Week' at the end of April around the question of the now dysfunctional Universal Credit system.
There's been a lot of stuff in the press recently about a general strike. But some of the submissions about this to the TUC from the leaders of other unions reveal an almost permanent no-strike agreement with Labour: 'You can't strike against a Labour government and when it's not in power you can't strike in case you stop them winning the next election.' This is outrageous.
In our submission to the TUC we made the key point that it's TUC policy to build joint coordinated industrial action on the pay freeze and the government's cuts and privatisation agenda. What the TUC should do is implement that policy.
In The Socialist 10 April 2013:
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The bedroom tax
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