Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

DWP Workers On Strike

DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) staff in Jobcentres and Benefit offices are on strike today and tomorrow.
The PCS union have organised the action in response to the derisory pay offer they have received. Unfortunately other public sector workers have settled so there is not the added pressure of other disputes ongoing that had been anticipated, but other public sector workers are offering solidarity and the mood against the government is angry - the HMRC fiasco is linked to the cuts, penny pinching and attempts to bring in the private sector in parts of the Civil Service.

PCS Press Release on why they are going on strike:

The two day strike to be followed by an overtime ban will be held next week on Thursday 6 December and Friday 7 December and adds to the pressure on the government following rows over party funding and the loss of child benefit data. The two day strike comes as the DWP seek to impose a pay offer which would see approximately 40% of staff receive 0% pay increase next year.

Members are angry over the three year pay offer, which sees cost of living increases for longer serving staff members of 2% this year, 0% next year and 1% in the final year. The pay offer averages just 1% a year over the three years and sees the lowest paid receiving increases which take their wage to only 24 pence above the minimum wage.

The news comes as it emerged that the DWP would be closing three pension centres located in Birmingham, Blackpool and Dearne Valley at the cost of 650 jobs. The union warned that the closures would further damage the pension service which has been hit by delays and backlogs.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "The department has provoked conflict and the inevitable disruption that strike action brings by walking away from last minute talks. This insulting pay offer that will see low paid staff receive a pay cut in real terms has provoked anger amongst people who have borne the brunt of job cuts. Imposing a pay offer that averages out at 1% a year will do little for the morale of staff who have seen job cuts and services suffer.

"The government have got to start realising that its policies of cuts and driving down pay are not only damaging staff morale and services, but creating the conditions for systemic failure across the civil service. If the government and the department want to avoid damaging industrial action, then they need to re-start talks quickly on a fair pay deal for staff."

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