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Fight Low Pay
Fight The Job Cuts
PCS CIVIL service union members in the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) are set for two more days strike action on 29 and 30 July as part of the campaign for fair pay and to defeat the hated Performance Development System (PDS), a discriminatory appraisal system intended to institutionalise low pay.
John McInally, (PCS national executive, and DWP Group Assistant Secretary personal capacity)
Anger over pay is being fed by the announcement by the DWP Secretary of State Andrew Smith of how the first of 30,000 jobs cuts, announced by Gordon Brown in his March Budget Statement, are to be delivered. DWP workers will never forgive the repulsive sight of New Labour MPs clapping and baying as Brown announced the job cuts.
There is a rising tide of anger as more civil servants realise that the attacks on pay and the cuts are linked - they reflect the anti-public sector obsessions of "enterprise" junkies like Blair and Brown who believe only the private sector can deliver.
Members are increasingly determined PDS must go - they are determined low pay must be tackled. The Left Unity led Group Executive Committee (GEC) is currently running a ballot asking members to support a vote of "No Confidence" in the DWP Executive Team over their treatment of DWP staff - a move that is causing panic as this tiny bunch of "leaders" are becoming more and more isolated, even from their own middle and senior managers. A major lobby of Parliament is taking place on 14 July.
Campaign for services
And the implications of the cuts in civil service jobs are becoming increasingly clear. Thousands of frontline jobs will go, services to the public will be reduced or destroyed and there will be a massive reduction in the quality of services. The cuts will impact on all communities in one way or the other but, as usual, the most vulnerable sections of society will be the worst hit.
These cuts were announced without any consultation with PCS; in reality they were planned without any discussion with DWP senior managers who have been effectively told to just get on with it.
There is a fundamental flaw in the government's programme for DWP which everyone but them seems to be able to see - you cannot deliver good quality and vital services on the basis mainly of call centre and electronic communication. Instead, easily accessible frontline services run by well trained and motivated staff are needed.
PCS will oppose the cuts and has begun the hard work of building effective alliances in the trade union movement and wider society to fight the government's plans. Our aim is not just to defend jobs and services - but to campaign for good quality public services that people need and deserve.
In The Socialist 10 July 2004:
Workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis