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A quarter of a million civil service workers ballot for action to defend pay and conditions

by Siân Ruddick

DWP workers protest in Newcastle Under  Lyme (Pic: PCS)

DWP workers protest in Newcastle Under Lyme (Pic: PCS)


The PCS civil service workers’ union is preparing to begin a national ballot of its public sector members on 8 February.

Over 250,000 workers are being asked to vote for strikes and action short of a strike.

The ballot comes after the government refused to negotiate with the union over pay, pensions, and terms and conditions.

The union is holding regional meetings across Britain for members as people discuss the way forward.

Niaz Faiz works in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London.

He told Socialist Worker, “We need to build the meetings and push an argument that we can win. But we need a strategy to win—a one day or two day strike isn’t going to do it.

“There has been criticism from reps and members that our own national executive are not clear on how to win the dispute.”

Niaz talked about the role that other workers have played in their struggle. “We’ve looked to other unions and have marched and struck together,” he said.

“But we should be prepared to go it alone—there are attacks on us by the government that are specific and need to be fought.”

For four years civil service workers have faced an assault on their pay. First they had two years of a pay freeze and then their pay has been capped at 1 percent increases.

Inflation currently stands at over 3 percent.

The government’s assault on pensions means that workers are paying more in, getting less out and working longer.

The ballot runs until 4 March and workers could strike on budget day, 20 March.

PCS activists need to go all out to build workplace meetings and campaign for the biggest possible yes vote.


Article information

News
Fri 15 Mar 2013, 15:32 GMT
Issue No. 2338
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