PUBLIC and Commercial Servants union (PCS) members were out on picket lines since before dawn yesterday as tens of thousands came out in support of their national one-day strike over pay, conditions, pensions and privatisation.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told News Line at a London photocall opposite parliament: ‘Early reports are the strike has gone very well, it’s a strong strike.
‘That is because people have reached the end of their tether with a 20% pay cut over five years. 87,000 jobs have gone and their pensions are being massively worsened.
‘And we’re told whoever wins the next election it will be more of the same. We have been arguing for the maximum number of unions to strike together. We will be talking to all the other unions to make sure we stand together.’
PCS members at the photocall told News Line they would support a general strike.
Typical was HMRC PCS member Mark Benjamin: ‘I’m on strike today because enough is enough.’
He added: ‘There will have to be more action. One day will not get the result we deserve. There needs to be more co-ordinated action with other unions.
‘I’d support a general strike to get everyone together and fight the same fight.’
Yesterday’s strike disrupted services across the UK. There was no official business taking place at the Welsh Assembly. The galleries at Tate Liverpool were closed for the day because of the industrial action.
The UK Border Force custody suite in Dover was closed from 7am yesterday until 7am today because of the strike. There was a high turnout by strikers at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, in London, with a demonstration taking place at 11am, against plans to privatise visitor services. The protest came as the gallery prepares, for the first time, to use private security guards to staff a new Rembrandt exhibition.
There was strong support for the strike in Scotland, over 90% turnouts at government offices and job centres in Glasgow, Saltcoats in North Ayrshire, Glenrothes and Leith.
The contact centre at DVLA Swansea has been hit very hard. Out of 72 staff only four went in.
In the northern region, there were large turnouts at Seaham pension centre, the Rural Payments Agency in Newcastle, Waterview Park in Washington, the Land Registry in Durham and by benefit delivery members in Sunderland.
Court proceedings were disrupted in Manchester, Bradford, Northampton and Bristol.
There was an 80% turnout at Land Registry Computer Services and Land Registry in Plymouth, while at the benefits centre 75% were on strike. At Brighton jobcentre 95% of members were on strike.
Messages of support came in from across the UK includng from Veronica Killen, UCU Northern region, RMT general secretary Mick Cash and NAPO general secretary Ian Lawrence.