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SALFORD CIVIL SERVICE STRIKE ON BUDGET DAY
 

Star date: 20th March 2013

CIVIL SERVANTS STRIKE OVER PAY AND CONDITIONS

"What people don't understand is that vast numbers of civil servants are lowly paid and hard working" Richard Bailey, PCS.

As George Osborne was announcing yet more cuts in his Budget today, civil servants from the trade union PCS (Public and Commercial Services) manned picket lines in Salford, on a one day strike in protest at pay, pensions and conditions.

The union says that its members stand to lose around 20% of their income, while basic working conditions, like holidays, flexible working and sick pay are all under attack.

Full details here…


Salford Civil Service One Day Strike
click image to enlarge

It's a cold morning in Salford, and as commuters are busy piling off the M602 roundabout, just around the corner, at the start of Eccles New Road, PCS flags are flying and a picket line is solid outside the court building at Prince William House.

These workers, from the PCS Greater Manchester Ministry of Justice Branch, have gone on one day strike because they've basically had enough of the Government's onslaught on their wages, terms and conditions.

Already they are expected to pay more into their pensions, while having to work extra years. They've also been subject to a pay freeze, with a rise for next year being mooted of just 1%, while inflation is hovering around 3%.

The PCS (Public and Commercial Services) Union reckons that over the four years of the pay freeze and cap, members stand to lose almost 20% of their income. And, to rub it in even more, holidays, flexible working and sick pay are now all under attack.

"People are finding it very difficult" says Richard Bailey, PCS branch chair for Greater Manchester, who's on the Salford picket line "An awful lot of civil servants are in receipt of working family tax credits, and these are the Government's own employees, which is ridiculous.

"What people don't understand is that vast numbers are lowly paid, hard working public servants and all we're asking for is a decent remuneration for what we do" he adds "We should be getting a reasonable living salary."

The civil service trade unions have chosen Budget Day for their 24 hour strike, to ram home the message to George Osborne and the rest of the ConDem Government that workers have had enough. But the Budget cut public spending even deeper…

"They're talking about further 2% cuts in department budgets to fund capital spending and there will come a time when we are not able to deliver services that will keep the country running" Richard explains "They are going for all public services - the police, councils…it's all going to have an impact on people's lives.

"This is the start of an ongoing campaign to make the Government negotiate" he adds "That's all we're asking for - for the Government to come to the table and discuss issues rather than just announcing things."

A statement from Peter Royle, PCS Branch Organiser, goes even further, calling the Government's attitude on discussions "an insult to our members… allocations failed to sufficiently assist most of those on the lowest salaries, which is what the unions had sought.

"Higher pension contributions are planned" he adds "Ministers are also now trying to rip up our basic working conditions, with hours, holidays, flexible working and sick pay all up for grabs..."

The PCS Union was joined in the one day strike by Unite HCA members (Housing Workers Branch)... "Both Unions believe that industrial action is a last resort" says Peter Royle "But so far the government and the Agency have refused to talk to them – so we must act."


Elsewhere in Salford there was also a one day strike and picket line at the tax office at Trinity Bridge House near the Lowry Hotel.

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