PCS-Budget Day Strike!

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UP to a quarter of a million civil and public servants from across the UK will be taking part in a one day strike on Budget day today, in a dispute over cuts to redundancy pay.

The stoppage, called by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), follows a strongly supported two-day strike earlier in March which saw up to 200,000 civil and public servants stay away from work over changes to the civil service compensation scheme.

Today’s strike, the first ever on Budget day, involves prison workers, Jobcentre staff, tax workers, passport staff, court officials, Ministry of Defence workers and driving test examiners.

The stoppage will also see civilian staff and 999 operators working for the Met Police walking out, as well as security staff working in the Houses of Parliament. Serious Organised Crime Agency officers will also be on strike affecting operations today.

This morning will see a battle bus taking to the streets in London from 8am Vuaxhall Bridge Rd., touring picket lines including: The Royal Courts of Justice, The Houses of Parliament, The Victoria and Albert Museum, British Library, Tate Modern and government departments in Whitehall including the Treasury.

In London today, there is a campaign boat cruising up and down the Thames outside the Houses of Parliament and a demonstration in Parliament Square from 11am to 1pm.

In Scotland, there is a demonstration at the Mound in Edinburgh from 10.30am and a short ‘alternative budget’ will be presented at 11.00am. In Glasgow, members are gathering at Labour Party HQ, West Regent Street, at 11am and handing in a letter to the Scottish Labour leader.

Wales has a Budget day demonstration and rally on the steps of Senedd, Cardiff Bay from 12 noon to 4:00pm. The last two-day stoppage saw the cancellation of business in the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament as Assembly Members and MSPs refused to cross picket lines.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: ‘It is no coincidence that PCS members are striking on Budget day to defend jobs and services.

‘As the government seeks to make it easier and cheaper for whoever wins the election to cut civil and public servants, we can expect a drive to slash jobs which will ultimately lead to poorer services.

‘Loyal civil servants have already seen the damage that 100,000 job cuts has wrought and will not stand by and allow the jobs and services they are proud to deliver slashed.

‘In the Budget, the government has an opportunity to stamp out tax avoidance and evasion by companies and wealthy individuals. Alongside dealing with uncollected taxes, this would provide over £100bn towards cutting the deficit.

‘The government needs to start valuing its own workforce by standing up for public services and reaching an agreement on redundancy pay that protects people’s entitlements.’