UK: Public service strike enters second day

PCS members strike in February - from Socialist Worker

70,000 workers at Jobcentres, benefits offices, the Pension Service and Child Support Agency (CSA) are on strike for a second day over the imposition of a below inflation pay offer.

The two day strike called by PCS members working for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), follows the imposition of a below inflation pay offer which sees the lowest paid receiving increases which take their wage to only 24 pence above the minimum wage and approximately 40% of staff set to receive a 0% pay increase next year.

The 48 hour stoppage will be followed by an overtime ban starting on Monday next week.

Picket lines were once again set up across the country with reports showing that the number of staff staying away from work had grown. Reports included:

* 540 staff a Swansea pensions centre out on strike
* Only 5% of staff at work in the Derby contact centre
* 90% of staff at the Glasgow benefit centre stayed away from work
* Partick Jobcentre open but offering no service to the public
* Ramsgate Jobcentre mounted the first picket lines in their history
* Support for strike grew across East Anglia
* The mail was turned away for the second day running across the country including Newcastle City Jobcentre
* Elephant and Castle Jobcentre were turning away members of the public

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "Tens of thousands of members have demonstrated over the last two days that they are not prepared to see their pay cut in real terms or be used as an anti-inflationary tool. Imposing a pay cut in real terms on some of the lowest paid is completely unacceptable and has only served to damage the morale of a workforce battered by job cuts. The disruption of the last two days will only be compounded by an overtime ban beginning next week, unless management start negotiating about a fair pay rise."