Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/577/7223
Civil service: Workers fight cuts and sell-offs
THE TREASURY'S final report of the Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) aims to cut government spending by £15 billion. The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has condemned these proposals which would cut Land Registry in half (at a cost of 4,000 jobs) and open it up to privatisation through market testing.
By a Land Registry worker
The plans also open the way to outsourcing and sell-offs in areas such as Royal Mint, the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency (DSDA), the Met Office and Ordnance Survey.
By the end of June around 1,000 Land Registry workers will have left this year through voluntary severance. Those remaining are concerned about the quality of service to the public because of these job losses. This latest announcement makes it clear that further challenges lie ahead and must be resisted.
Full privatisation is not happening at this time, but the potential clearly looms large for outsourcing and other detrimental changes to working conditions alongside the threat of further job cuts and office closures.
Outsourcing and market testing do not represent value for money for the public. It will mean a continuing decline in services for the public and attacks on PCS members.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, commented: "We have seen the impact of botched privatisations and IT outsourcing in areas such as passports, the Criminal Records Bureau and Tax Credits, resulting in the government bailing out the private sector at a cost of millions to the taxpayer.
"These so-called efficiency savings are spending cuts which we fear will result in real people with bills to pay and mouths to feed losing their jobs. You cannot cut your way out of a recession."
The PCS Land Registry Group will fight this latest threat vigorously. The union's A Public Service for the 21st Century campaign seeks to protect members' jobs and the service that Land Registry provides by keeping Land Registry in the public sector.
This campaign is also demanding the completion of the land register! Land Registry has been in existence for more than 100 years, but large swathes of land across England and Wales, much of it owned by corporations and large landowners remains unregistered.
Completing the register would protect jobs while improving the accountability and democracy of land ownership in England and Wales. This would expose the blatant inequalities built into capitalist land ownership and show the need for land to be used in ordinary working people's interests rather than those of big business or the landed gentry.
The Land Registry Group Executive are prepared to provide a strong lead, capable of fighting shoulder to shoulder alongside PCS members in this campaign.
In The Socialist 29 April 2009:
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