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Civil service jobs threat
An Attack On The Whole Public Sector
ON 12 July the government announced the latest developments in its plans to slash civil service jobs ahead of the general election.
John McInally PCS National Executive Committee
In a near-tripling of the budget statement, Gordon Brown announced that 84,000 jobs would be cut from the civil service in England, with 20,000 jobs to go in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In addition, 20,000 jobs are to be moved out of London and the south-east.
This is the latest stage in an obscene pre-general election battle between New Labour and the Tories to cut the most jobs in the public sector.
Disgracefully, no attempt was made to deal with some of the real waste, such as the billions of pounds being spent on private-sector consultants and failed IT systems.
This orgy of job destruction should be seen for what it is - a continuation of New Labour's 'Americanisation' of the economy, based on the idea that privatisation and the destruction of the public sector are a desirable development. In reality, it is good only for big business and profits.
This slash-and-burn approach is an attack on vital public services. Civil servants are to be the focus of these attacks. No civil servant's job is safe. A 20% cut in jobs cannot be secured without damaging the services provided to the public.
The government has focussed its attacks on the civil service to try to isolate civil service workers and unions from the rest of the trade union movement.
The main civil service union, PCS, must move quickly to explain that this is an attack on the whole public sector. The union needs to make clear what the consequences of these cuts will be on public services.
Recently, for example, cuts announced in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that the government are perfectly prepared to attack the interests of pensioners and other vulnerable groups.
PCS and the other civil service unions need to lead a campaign to reverse these cuts, to block plans for privatisation and stop the sale of £30 billion worth of public assets.
PCS will campaign to save jobs and public services. We will work with other unions and other groups, not just at national level but in the local communities that will be hit hard by job losses and cuts in services. PCS will fight the broadest possible campaign, including industrial action.
Paying for New Labour's failings
"SINCE THE Chancellor announced major job losses, everyone knows my job isn't the secure career it once was. As a young worker I am sure this will affect my chances of borrowing the money to buy a house or start a family."
A DfES Worker spoke to Mick Philipsz
"This cull will save money spent on the war which I - and my union branch - opposed. Having to pay for it with my livelihood sticks in the throat.
"How can the government improve public services when it's getting rid of a large section of them?
"Civil servants are the people that communicate front-line workers' opinions to government and vice versa! It doesn't seem that they are too interested in what people think, does it?
"This is all happening when private consultants are being paid a fortune by the Treasury, but out of Programme Budget money which is not accountable in the same way to Parliament.
"And why is a Labour Party, which should be encouraging shorter working hours and less stressful lives, pushing and changing the civil service and other public jobs, into a copy of a privately run business.
"The civil service should be a beacon of doing a good job whilst keeping hours of work and stress levels low."
In The Socialist 17 July 2004:
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