The government wants to tear up the contracts in order to push through job cuts and privatisation on the cheap. This is an effort to make civil servants and working people in general pay for the economic mess caused by the banks; it’s as simple as that.
PCS’s hard negotiating stance based on members’ support has already delivered concessions but they do not give the level of protection needed; proposed changes to the scheme would mean:
- All civil service jobs under greater threat of redundancy.
- Services more likely to be privatised, with less protection for members.
- Members with longer service face the loss of entitlements of up to a third, potentially tens of thousands of pounds.
- Members over 50 losing rights to enhanced pensions.
- Less generous voluntary severance packages.
The government claim they want to save money on redundancy packages, but the answer is simple – don’t make workers delivering vital services redundant: don’t close 200 tax offices and get rid of 25,000 tax workers when uncollected, avoided and evaded tax is running at £130bn a year.
Our communities need these services and they certainly need the jobs – it is the economics of the madhouse to cut public sector jobs in the midst of a recession. The government wants to be seen to be hard on civil servants “feather-bedded” terms and conditions. The truth is the overwhelming mass of civil servants are hard-working, lowly paid workers whose commitment to the communities in which they live and work and to which they deliver vital services should be treated with respect rather than denigrated by the government and the press.
Defend The Civil Service Compensation Scheme
Labour is ideologically committed to attacking the public sector in order to allow big business an opportunity to use the recession to cut jobs and cherry-pick services for privatisation. At the same time as they go on about the “unaffordability” of public spending the government and the rest of the political establishment, including the press, tamely watch the bankers yet again wallow in obscene bonuses and profits after being bailed out by the taxpayer, i.e., working people.
PCS members have seen through this nonsense and by voting for strike action and an overtime ban are sending a clear message to the government that they will fight to defend their terms and conditions.
PCS is also taking legal action and a judicial review is to be heard in March. Whatever the courts say this dispute will be settled by members sticking together and making the two-day strike on 8th and 9th of March, that opens the industrial action campaign, a huge success.
PCS wants a negotiated settlement but only on the basis of an improved offer that defends members’ rights – if not, then the strike goes ahead and will be followed by more action and disruption throughout March. The leadership of PCS, in which Socialist Party members play a key role has shown there is an alternative to bowing the knee in the face of the on-going assault on the public sector and working people generally. Campaigning works and action gets results.
By sticking together deals were secured on pensions and jobs. By sticking together in this campaign a settlement can be secured that defends members contracts and which can protect all members’ interests.