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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2004

Angry Workers Vote For Action

"I had taken the day off on leave on budget day. But when I heard the news of the cuts I felt I had to come into work and contact other union activists.

Mick Philipsz, PCS, Department for Education and Skills

We had been expecting fairly severe cuts already but the figure we were given, 1,400 (31% of staff) was twice what we had been led to believe.

The day after the announcement, the union held its annual general meeting - its biggest ever. Union members snatched the leaflets I handed out to promote the meeting.

One staff member near to tears, said: "I have been working myself to near exhaustion for the last year and this is how they repay us. They are a bunch of tossers".

He expressed the anger that most people feel. My department has one of the highest levels of long- term sick leave due to stress and anxiety from overwork. Many members work late into the evenings and at weekends.

Vacancies in teams have not been filled and colleagues have had to fill in for absences without financial recompense.

There is also anger at talk of cutting back on 'waste'. My department, like many others has been subjected to many reviews and efficiency drives already. The real 'waste' is the millions of pounds spent on management consultants within the department.

Incredibly, recruitment of these consultants is continuing in the middle of the cuts exercise. This reflects the Treasury's wish to transform the department into little better than a small and unaccountable think-thank.

Our union annual general meeting unanimously backed a motion supporting industrial action if necessary to defeat the cuts.

It also backed a motion for national conference calling for the setting up of a political fund and for that fund to be used to finance alternative candidates and parties in elections, whose policies correspond with those of the PCS.

PCS Prepares The Fightback

AS THE Socialist went to press, the PCS national executive committee was discussing a resolution to be put to the union's national conference in June.

The resolution says:

"It is clear that the announcement and the singling out of the civil service was more to do with politics and the 2005 general election. We regret people playing politics with the lives of our members and the vital work that civil servants perform".

It expresses disgust at

"the cheap attempts by politicians of all parties to see who can cut the highest number of civil service jobs" and rejects "simplistic attempts... to divide civil servants in 'front-line' and 'back-room' staff".

The motion opposes arbitrary job cuts, privatisation and cutbacks in public access to public services. It commits the union to a membership awareness campaign on the government plans and the Gershon and Lyons reviews; to co-operate with other like-minded public-sector unions and the TUC to defend public services and jobs; to launch a public campaign including community groups, pensioners and other interested organisations to defend public services and to use all means at its disposal to defend members' interests and the services members provide to the public.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 27 March 2004:

Stop The Jobs Slaughter

Angry Workers Vote For Action

Job Cuts - Now Is The Time To Act

Socialist Students

Mass Action To Defeat Fees

Build A Campaigning NUS

Defending Teachers, Defending Education

Marxist analysis: history

Liverpool city council: The Council That Took On Thatcher

Millions Worldwide Say 'End The Occupation'

International socialist news and analysis

Sharon Opens The "Gates Of Hell"

Clarke Exposes Bush's Iraq Agenda

Venezuela: Opposition In Dirty Tricks Campaign


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