Around 50 people gathered outside Birmingham’s ICC today as the civil service held a conference, attended by Francis Maude, the Conservative minister for the civil service.
PCS – the civil service union – called this demonstration because of redundancies in the West Midlands and planned changes to pensions following the Hutton report. PCS were joined by Birmingham Against the Cuts, the Socialist Worker Party and other local activists campaigning against cuts in the region.
Andrew Lloyd from PCS said that “since the cuts have been announced, we’ve lost 600 civil service jobs in Birmingham. As well as the lost services, we estimate the impact to the Birmingham economy is around £20 million, which is why we’re lobbying people today to give ministers a hard time, and to encourage one and all to join the campaign and vote Yes for PCS industrial action in June”
We did not get to welcome Francis Maude to the conference, and it is possible that he cancelled his visit entirely, as PCS got a phone call yesterday informing them that both Francis Maude nor Sir Gus O’Donell (head of the civil service) had decided not to attend, and asking for the demonstration to be called off.
PCS decided to go ahead with the demonstration, as it allows them to lobby delegates to the meeting to pressure the civil service on the issues of jobs and pensions.
It is not known whether Francis Maude or Sir Gus O’Donell did attend, but if they did then they, like Vince Cable did late last year, entered the ICC through a back door because of the demonstration.
Birmingham Against the Cuts fully supports PCS in it’s struggle to maintain both jobs and pensions, and would call for all members to vote for industrial action, and to attend the Save our Services Mayday demonstration on April 30th along with thousands of other people from around the region, as we join to demonstrate against cuts to jobs, pensions and services on the weekend of the traditional workers bank holiday.
More photos from the event can be seen on Geoff Dexter Sherborne’s Flickr page