Public Sector Workers To Strike

Local services likely to be affected

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Local services could be affected by a series of strikes in March as public sector workers walk out in a row over cuts and redundancies.

The Public and Commercial Services Union says its members are launching a month of industrial action with a 48 hour strike on 8 and 9 March in a dispute over what is says are 'unilateral changes' to redundancy terms.

The strikes will involve up to 270,000 staff nationwide, including workers at Jobcentres, tax offices, coastguards, border agency officials, courts staff and driving test examiners.

The union says Shepherd's Bush Jobcentre Plus is likely to be affected and if it opens at all, a very limited service will be on offer. Services at West London Magistrates' Court in Hammersmith are also likely to be affected as security guards and court clerks also belong to the PCS.

The union is accusing the Government of making “unilateral changes to the civil service compensation scheme” which will see staff lose “tens of thousands of pounds” if they are made redundant.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "These cuts, which will see loyal civil and public servants lose tens of thousands of pounds if they are forced out of a job, are more about crude politicking than making savings.

"We have suggested ways in which the government can make these savings whilst protecting the rights of existing members, yet it seems intent on penalising the people who keep this country running.

"With civil and public service jobs increasingly at risk, this is a cynical attempt to cut jobs on the cheap which will ultimately damage the services we all rely on. The government needs to recognise the depth of anger which has been demonstrated by this ballot result and find the political will to negotiate a settlement that avoids a sustained campaign of industrial action."

The union’s national executive committee is due to meet on 2, 3 and 4 March to finalise further strike dates, which could include national walkouts and targeted strike action.

February 26, 2010