By a civil servant
On 22 October voting closes in the PCS national ballot over jobs, pensions and sick arrangements.
If the vote is “yes”, then there will be a Civil Service-wide strike on 5 November (the first since 1993).
The Alliance for Worker’s Liberty thinks:
- PCS has mentioned pay among the “Ten Reasons” to go on strike. We think pay should be put centre-stage, alongside pensions and jobs, with a precise demand: that the Treasury set its “remit” high enough to allow pay and conditions to be levelled up across the civil service, eliminating the poverty rates in the current maze of 192 of the bargaining units.
- PCS should follow up 5 November with targeted and sustained strike action in areas where it will hit government finances, such as the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise, and Driver Vehicle Licensing.
- Offices have been targeted to be shut — 42 in the Department of Work and Pensions alone. The union should go to them and organise for sustained strike action there.
- The union should organise a national levy of all members to fund strike pay to those on sustained strikes.
- Teachers, civil servants and NHS workers face the same threat that the pension retirement age will be increased to 65 and that the final salary scheme will be scrapped, yet the major unions in those areas are pursuing separate campaigns.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, has been trying to get those unions to co-operate but the reply so far is… maybe, later.
Along with top-level talks the unions’ ranks must talk to each other so that there is real pressure for a proper alliance on pensions. Our aim must be to ensure that the next time there is national action, other unions across the public sector are involved as well.