POA call for general strike outside parliament

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Striking civil servants applauding a call from the Prison Officers Association for a general strike
Striking civil servants applauding a call from the Prison Officers Association for a general strike

STRIKING civil servants clapped and cheered a call for a general strike at a rally outside parliament yesterday.

A message of support and solidarity was read out to the 500-strong PCS Budget Day strike rally from Prison Officers Association general secretary Steve Gillan who concluded in the face of more Tory cuts: ‘The whole trade union movement will have to call a general strike.’

Messages of support came from NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet and FBU general secretary Matt Wrack were also read out after a speech by PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.

The PCS leader said: ‘PCS members the length and breadth of the country have stood up for decency today.

‘They are fed up with our wages, pensions and jobs being cut, fed up with the way Osborne and the coalition are ruining the economy.

‘Contrary to (cabinet secretary) Maude, the strike has been a fantastic success.’

Serwotka added the Budget meant ‘more cuts, more austerity, more cuts in benefits.’

He said: ‘When people (in government) aren’t listening, the only thing we can do is stand up and be counted.

‘It would be better if other unions were taking action.

‘We welcome the teachers’ unions taking action.

‘What teachers are showing is enough is enough. We’ve got to force them to stop the cuts now.

‘On April 5th at 1pm PCS members will walk out of their offices.

‘Our message to Osborne is stop attacking people who didn’t create the mess and can least afford the cost they have to pay.’

Serwotka concluded: ‘We hope all the unions in the TUC will say the time has come to stand up, and say stop what you are doing, you are going to pay a price.’

Striking DWP rep Vanessa Brooks-Walters told the rally: ‘We have to protect what’s right.

‘The cuts hit families and children.

‘We have to stand up for what’s fair, continue the fight, get behind what we are fighting for.’

Identity and Passports Service PCS branch rep Jon Bigger told News Line: ‘All the unions should get together and strike.

‘We need more action. It needs to be sustained.’

PCS assistant group secretary at HMRC Gordon Rowntree said: ‘We need a totally different system of government than we have at the moment.

‘We need a general strike, for the TUC not only to implement the resolution at the last TUC conference to consider the feasibilities of a general strike but to go further and organise one.

‘The PCS is taking the lead. It needs other unions and all those affected by the government’s attacks to take action.’