‘WHAT a shameful act by a Labour prime minister as possibly his final act – opening the door to the Tories to come in and sack workers on the cheap,’ PCS (Public and Civil Service union) leader Mark Serwotka told News Line yesterday morning.
Serwotka was speaking aboard the PCS ‘battle bus’ which was touring the streets of London.
The bus stopped at Cabinet Office Minister Tessa Jowell’s constituency surgery in Brixton and Labour Party deputy Harriet Harman’s surgery in Southwark.
Workers waved from office windows and clapped and cheered in the streets as the bus passed them.
Serwotka said: ‘The government put through parliament three weeks ago, with no debate or vote, an enormous change in our conditions of employment, whereby, from April, they can reduce redundancy terms by a third.
‘We have no doubt that whoever wins the election intends to sack more public sector workers than ever before.
‘The reason we’re visiting Tessa Jowell is because she’s the minister responsible and she’s refusing to negotiate.
‘While today we are fighting to defend our terms and conditions, what we need after the election is co-ordinated action across the public sector to defend jobs and services.’
Before the bus set off, leaders of public sector unions assembled outside the Unison headquarters in Euston to show support for the PCS, whose 270,000 members will be taking further strike action next Wednesday (Budget Day).
News Line asked several union leaders if they supported the call for the creation of a public sector alliance.
FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said: ‘All public sector workers are under attack in the cuts agenda and trade unions in the public sector need to work together to defend jobs and services. It’s going to be a hard fight.’
NUT General Secretary Christine Blower said: ‘Existing agreements can’t be unilaterally swept aside, which is what the government is trying to do to the PCS. We are all under attack and we have to stand together.’
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: ‘We don’t believe an employer can come along and tear up terms and conditions. If it happens to the PCS it can happen to any of us.’
PCS Deputy General Secretary Hugh Lanning said: ‘People are realising the unions have to stand together to defend public services.’
Serwotka concluded: ‘I’m really grateful for the fantastic support we’re getting from the other unions.
We’ve had ten unions down here today. We had many unions attending our strike rallies last week.
‘We are determined to defend our members’ jobs and public services. Labour has been in power for over 12 years and has cut 100,000 of our members’ jobs.’