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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 October 2004

Why We're Going On Strike

Mark Serwotka, PSC General SecretaryON 5 November, thousands of civil servants in the PCS union will be striking against Blair and Brown's plans to cut over 100,000 jobs and in defence of pensions and sick pay.
Announcing the strike ballot result Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary said:

"Members have voted to take a stand for public services. It is a stand which says they won't tolerate the government's slash and burn approach to public services, services that everybody relies on from cradle to the grave.

"The people going on strike on 5 November aren't faceless bureaucrats, but people providing essential services that are consistently taken for granted. They are people who face massive uncertainty about their jobs and the prospect of having to work five more years to receive their pension.

"When the government and Tories are engaged in a bidding war of who can cut the most, Britain's civil servants will be saying on 5 November that you can't embark along the path of crude cuts without it damaging services.

"We welcome the fact that the government is beginning to talk. However, we still need to sit down and talk about how we can improve public services without the threat of compulsory redundancies, compulsory transfers and such arbitrary job cuts. It is time the government realised that decent public services need people to deliver them and we urge them to think again."

It is clear that the government is testing the water with the civil servants for a wholesale assault to dismantle the public sector and privatise services. That's why workers in the public and private sector should stand shoulder to shoulder with striking civil servants.


Ballot results

113,087 votes cast

72,780 voted 'yes' (65%)

40,142 voted 'no' (35%)

Turnout 42%.


Defend Vital Services

WHO'S GOING to make sure our children are educated in a properly funded, accountable, quality education system when 31% of those men and women in the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) responsible for delivering the education agenda are being cut?

That's the question posed by Marion Lloyd, Group Vice-President in the DfES for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

Marion Lloyd, Group Vice-President in the DfES for the Public and Commercial Services UnionThe PCS have consistently pointed out that the Labour government's "slash and burn" attitude towards civil servants, where they aim to cut more than 100,000 civil service jobs, will impede its ability to deliver its national agenda.

The Tomlinson Reforms puts forward a huge agenda for reform requiring skilled civil service workers in the DfES to do the job they are trained to do. Apparently, the Department will publish a White Paper in January, exploring the proposals' viability and the steps to be taken in the short and long term.

Marion said:

"Tomlinson and the government might want to radically overhaul the curriculum and qualification system for 14 to 19 year olds but this is a massive piece of work done by the very people that the government are determined to axe.

"Education is allegedly at the top of their agenda and civil servants are vital to delivering that agenda. It makes you wonder who's going to develop any White Paper when they propose to cut us by a massive 31%.

"The government should reconsider their proposals and properly resource our department to allow us to do the job we're employed to do."


BRAVO PCS! Teachers are with you in fighting to keep your vitally important jobs. Reject any suggestion (as in the Gershon Review) that displaced civil servants could take up teacher assistant jobs - and be used to undermine teachers' jobs!

Linda Taaffe, National Union of Teachers (NUT) NEC (personal capacity)

CIVIL SERVANTS have already received messages of support from the Fire Brigades Union whose members recently fought against attacks on their own working conditions and the services they provide.

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In The Socialist 30 October 2004:

Unite And Fight

Why We're Going On Strike


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