Yesterday we posted about possible strikes in the education sector over pensions. Teachers are not the only public sector workers to be affected by changes in pensions, and PCS are also balloting for strike action.
Like the teachers, this ballot on pensions is being conducted against the backdrop of spending cuts and redundancies in the civil service.
At a recent protest, Andrew Lloyd from PCS said
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
More than a quarter of a million civil and public servants could be balloted for strike over cuts to pensions, jobs and pay.
PCS are talking to other unions to co-ordinate strike action, and June 30th is looking a likely date for nationwide co-ordinated strike action between PCS and the teaching unions who are also balloting for strike action. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of PCS said:
At least half a million people marched for the alternative on 26 March, and now we are saying we must be prepared to strike for the alternative.
We are talking to other unions and will seek to ensure that any action we take has the widest possible support to put the maximum pressure on the government to end its ideological attacks on people who everyone acknowledges did nothing to cause the recession.
Locally, Unison will ballot for strike action by council workers during May and sources have indicated that they will try to co-ordinate their strikes with unions, though they are not sure if they will be able to.
All the major health unions (RCN, BMA Unison and Unite) have indicated a willingness to strike over pay and with both RCN and BMA passing motions of no confidence in Andrew Lansley and his NHS reforms perhaps these unions will find a way to join in with the strikes on June 30th
Nationally June 30th could see up to a million workers on strike – locally the city could be shut down with council workers, teachers and civil servants all on strike.
It is important that people come onto the streets on Saturday for Birmingham’s Mayday demonstration, to show solidarity with workers who will vote on strike action in May, so that they know they have the support of their community as they head towards taking industrial action to defend their jobs, pensions and working conditions.