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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 November 2003

Civil Servants Begin Pay Battle

BY A massive vote of 40,615 to 2,974 civil service union PCS members in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have rejected the government's recent miserly and discriminatory pay offer.

But even before the result was published by the union on 24 November, the bosses announced that they were imposing the pay offer upon the union and its members in the DWP.

As a result, hundreds of PCS members from Glasgow and Essex spontaneously downed "tools" and walked off the job.

As Stella Dennis the union's group president for the 90,000 members in the DWP and a Socialist Party member said to the Financial Times: "It's not surprising members have reacted in the way that they have, given the contempt with which the management have treated them".

She told the socialist that: "The DWP has some of the lowest-paid employees in the public sector, some of which have to rely on benefits.

"The bully boy tactics of the department's management does nothing to stop this and the imposition of the below-inflation pay offer will see people being penalised for having a baby, caring for a loved one or for burying their dead."

She was referring here to the fact that under the offer, a discriminatory bonus scheme (in addition to the 2.6% below-inflation pay rise) means more than five days paid and unpaid leave in a year, other than annual leave, would lead to a reduction in the bonus payment.

This would penalise those taking maternity and paternity leave as well as those taking bereavement leave.

At the same time as this was happening, all 290,000 members of the PCS were being balloted by the union as part of the campaign to end sectional pay bargaining and reintroduce national pay bargaining. This is along with the campaign against the government plans to attack pension rights in the civil service.

The DWP group executive committee of the PCS is meeting on 27 November to discuss how they can use the ballot result to force the employers to pay a decent wage to their workers.

Whatever happens the mood of the workers is to fight the employers and to win a living wage once and for all.

  • 25% of civil service workers earn less than 13,000 a year.
  • 65% of PCS members are women.
  • Tens of thousands of PCS members are under 26.
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    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.
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    In The Socialist 29 November 2003:

    War, Poverty, Inequality... Fight The Profiteers

    Baglan hospital: Stop The Health Cuts

    Losing The War On Terror

    'Yes to peace, no to war'

    Nurturing the terrorists

    Blunkett's Sick Plans For Asylum Seekers

    Tuition Fees = Student Poverty

    Lewisham By-election 4 December: Why the Socialist Party is Different

    Anti-Bush Protest: "We're Not Going To Stay Quiet"

    International Socialist Resistance conference: Fight For Your Future

    Nepal's Crisis - No Way Out Under Capitalism

    Amicus executive elections: Fighting For The Members

    Civil Servants Begin Pay Battle


     

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