Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 31 March 2010

PCS: Striking against government attacks

Wrexham PCS workers on strike, photo Andrew McCoy

Wrexham PCS workers on strike, photo Andrew McCoy   (Click to enlarge)

Following the tremendous civil service two-day strike on 8 and 9 March, PCS members once again demonstrated their anger at the government's attempt to rip up their contracts under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. On budget day - 24 March - PCS members again took strike action and the message to Brown, Jowell and the Cabinet Office was clear - PCS will continue its campaign until there is a negotiated settlement.

John McInally, Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) national vice-president, personal capacity

Chancellor Alistair Darling crossed PCS picket lines to deliver his budget speech. Many areas reported increased participation in this action, and the Department for Work and Pensions group has recruited 1,200 new PCS members since the campaign began.

PCS members know this dispute is about more than defending redundancy payment terms, it is about defending jobs and services and preventing privatisation. Whoever wins the election will target the civil service for major cuts: all the main political parties agree working and middle-class people must pay for the economic mess made by the banks and the unregulated free market.

Striking Sheffield civil servants, members of PCS, photo R Faulds

Striking Sheffield civil servants, members of PCS, photo R Faulds   (Click to enlarge)

Hidden in the detail of Darling's plans is the shocking truth Labour is seeking to hide from working class voters - cuts of up to 25% in some departments, far deeper than anything under Thatcher. Our dispute is an important early sign of workers' struggles to resist and reverse the political establishment's plans for a decade of "austerity" - which will mean misery for most in society.

The hypocrisy of Brown and Labour ministers calling for negotiations to settle the British Airways and rail disputes, while refusing to negotiate with their own workforce, has angered many, including Labour MPs.

165 MPs, the vast majority Labour, have now signed the Early Day Motion supporting the union's position. These MPs understand that to attack low-paid workers in the run-up to a general election will mean that civil servants who are unlikely to vote Tory are more likely not to vote at all, endangering the seats of Labour MPs in marginal constituencies.

The exposure of appalling Stephen "cab for hire" Byers, architect of New Labour and unprincipled low-life, who was prepared to use his 'contacts' as a former minister to line his own pockets, could not be a sharper contrast with hard working and low paid civil servants.

PCS workers on strike and protesting outside the Welsh Assembly, photo Cardiff Socialist Party

PCS workers on strike and protesting outside the Welsh Assembly, photo Cardiff Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

PCS's national executive committee (NEC) met after the strike to plan the next stages of the campaign. April's NEC will consider further industrial action in relation to any announcements on the general election date. The government is the employer so there may be an issue as to whether there is actually anyone to negotiate with for a period of time. The national overtime ban will be extended until 14 May and departmental groups will be asked to draw up plans for disruptive action and work-to-rules.

PCS's political campaigning will be stepped up. This high profile activity will include targeting ministerial and marginal constituencies, including a national tour of our "battle bus" to such constituencies and larger workplaces. If ministers think we are going to ground until the election is over then they are in for a rude awakening. We will expose their treatment of low-paid workers and their plans to make us pay for the crisis caused by their friends in the City.

PCS is also continuing with its legal challenge to the redundancy scheme cuts. The government is running scared and they have used the most cynical delaying tactics to have it put back until April, but PCS will have its day in court, as well as its days on the picket lines. PCS will use all available methods to build the pressure until there is a fair and acceptable negotiated settlement.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 31 March 2010:

We will not pay!

Help fund Socialist Party campaigns

Stop the cuts, build a socialist alternative

PCS strike action

PCS: Striking against government attacks

PCS budget day strike: Support grows across country

Transport strikes

BA cabin crew strike: 'We shall not be moved'

Fight the decimation of London tube jobs

Network Rail dispute: RMT signalworker speaks to The Socialist

Workplace news in brief

NUT conference

NUT conference: fight cuts and excessive workload

Socialist elected to NUT executive

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Standing against cuts and privatisation

Socialist Party news and analysis

Yorkshire on the campaign trail

Developing a strategy to defeat the far-right

Waltham Forest: on march against redundancies

Cameron shows Tories still anti-gay

Council cuts: Grim Reaper moving to Surrey

Lewisham councillors' record

News in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Terror returns to Moscow For workers' unity against terror, repression, racism and capitalism

Eurozone crisis: Hanging together or hanging separately


Future Jobs scam: attacks on young unemployed

Southampton University protest

May Day march in Hull: Rebuilding traditions of struggle

Socialist Party review

When We Were Miners


Home   |   The Socialist 31 March 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleChange in leadership needed to secure union's future

triangleBenefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces

triangleSocialists call for trade unions to join the fight

trianglePCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised

triangleUnsafe Workplace? "It's up to you" PCS tells reps and members


triangle75th anniversary of the Attlee Labour government

triangleCapitalism and corruption go hand in hand

triangleI left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party

triangleWorkers need a new mass party to defend their interests


triangleBlairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated

triangleMPs get 10k each for lockdown expenses - where's ours?

triangleTony Blair launches manifesto to sabotage a Corbyn government


triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The US presidential election

triangleSocialism Today special issue: Lessons from the Corbyn experience

Civil Service:

triangleShould the Socialist still be produced during the Corona crisis? An exchange with Mark Serwotka about sales of the Socialist

John McInally:

trianglePCS Left Unity election: All votes should count

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Fighting Fund

Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time



Equity union president elections: re-elect Maureen



Change in leadership needed to secure union's future


Black Lives Matter

BLM has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists


Ken Douglas

Red flags line road for Ken



Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy





The Socialist

Selling the Socialist



Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in



Come to the NSSN conference


Sunday trading

Sunday trading: Government blinks first



Equity: Solidarity with Maxine Peake


Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets council strike


Ministry of Justice

MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak


Ken Douglas

Memorial funds for Ken Douglas and Mick Cotter

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020