Members of the PCS civil service union in the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in London have voted by a majority of 1400 to 500 for “discontinuous” strike action against the Government’s plans for drastic job cuts.
The ballot result was announced on Tuesday 21 September. The union's DWP Group Executive Committee will meet in the week starting 27 September to make a recommendation on action to the National Disputes Committee.
Activists will be demanding a definite action plan, including more than one cross-London one-day strike announced in advance, and longer-term selective action in processing centres supported by a national levy. A one-day strike with any follow-up left vague will not be sufficient.
Too much time has been lost already. The union’s London DWP regional committee, supported by the branches, called for strike action many months ago, but was fobbed off by full-time union officials who said that more time needed to be spent on trying to negotiate with management.
In fact the Government shows no signs at all of negotiating on the basics of its plan to cut over 100,000 civil service jobs. It has cut over 15,000 already. It is a scandal that if the London DWP action, if and when it goes ahead, will be the first serious action against the job cuts other than a strike by a small number of workers in the Nottingham DSA.
Action in London DWP should be built on to draw in other sections, starting with workers in Glasgow who do processing work for the London offices.
Many hundreds of jobs have gone in the London DWP. The delay, and the fact the ballot was eventually organised in a holiday period, reduced the turnout for the ballot, but the majority for action was still clear.