Strikes hit Civil Service as 100,000 set to walk out within weeks over pay and conditions

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Around 100,000 civil servants are to strike on February 1 in a worsening dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, the Public and Commercial Services union announced.

Sky News reports PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “During the last month, when thousands of PCS members across a range of departments took sustained industrial action, the government said it had no money.

 

“But it managed to find millions of pounds to spend on managers and military personnel in a failed attempt to cover the vital work our members do.

“We warned the government our dispute would escalate if they did not listen – and we’re as good as our word. We will not stand by as hardline Tory MPs like Richard Drax tell our hard-working members they should be grateful to have jobs.”

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union announced that its members in 124 government departments and other bodies will walk out on February 1.

The union said it will be the largest civil service strike for years and signals a “significant escalation” of industrial action after a month of strikes by its members, including Border Force staff.

The stoppage will coincide with the TUC’s “protect the right to strike” day, which was announced in reaction to the Government’s controversial legislation on minimum service levels during industrial action.

The news of industrial action comes after it was announced eariler this month talks would be held between the Government and the biggest civil service union in a bid to resolve the bitter dispute. The PCS and a Government minister are due to meet at the Cabinet Office tomorrow.

A fresh wave of strikes had already begun among its members at the DVLA in Swansea and Birmingham.

Before the meeting with the government the PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We will, of course, accept the invitation to the meeting, during which we shall tell him if he wants a resolution to the dispute, he must put some money on the table.”

PCS members working for Border Force, the Rural Payments Agency, the Department for Work and Pensions, National Highways and those working as driving examiners have been taking staggered action since December 13.

In a separate dispute, PCS members working as legal advisers and court associates in more than 82 courts across England and Wales last week announced new strike dates.

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The Government announced new laws which have come into force yesterday (January 10) as part of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. Critics have viewed the legislation as a way to curb the “right to strike”.

But Business Secreatary Grant Shapps said: “The first job of any government is to keep the public safe. Because whilst we absolutely believe in the ability to strike, we are duty-bound to protect the lives and livelihoods of the British people.

“I am introducing a bill that will give government the power to ensure that vital public services will have to maintain a basic function, by delivering minimum safety levels ensuring that lives and livelihoods are not lost.

“We do not want to have to use this legislation unless we have to, but we must ensure the safety of the British public.”

One of the areas of work covered by the legislation includes the Border Force.

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