The Lyons report, just published, proposes to abolish 20,000 Civil Service posts in London and the South-East by 2009. The Gershon review looking for "efficiency" savings across the public sector is due to report in the coming weeks. According to press leaks, it is looking to get rid of 80,000 jobs by 2011.
The Budget on 17 March included a plan to cut 30,000 jobs in the Department of Work and Pensions, and ban permanent recruitment to DWP indefinitely. While it is unclear how this commitment relates to Gershon, the DWP is already being shrunk 4 or 5% a year by natural wastage everywhere. The writing is on the wall. The government intends massive job losses.
While the Civil Servants' union PCS is not opposed in principle to relocation, it has made a series of demands: right to redeployment, no compulsory redundancies, central negotiation. If the government does not offer a commitment to meet these conditions with the next few weeks, then the union will resist Lyons.
Regarding Gershon, the PCS argues that if it is possible to cut wasteful duplication in "back room" jobs, then people should be redeployed to socially useful front-line jobs, not suffer job cuts.
Immediately, all London and South-East PCS branches should be brought together to discuss a rank-and-file response to Lyons.
By a PCS member