London civil servants on strike

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union are going on strike today (November 1st) in Sheffield against the compulsory transfer of ten staff who worked for the former Department for Education and Skills (DfES) at Caxton House into the private sector.

Submitted by Ed on November 1, 2007

Up to 1,800 members working for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), will be taking part in the action.

Members will be picketing outside Caxton House on Tothill St, London today from 12pm-2pm with members in Sheffield, Darlington and Runcorn also taking part in the strike.

The dispute follows the transfer of the ten support staff who work in the mailroom and security as the DfES splits into two departments and moves across the road to Sanctuary buildings, handing sole occupancy of Caxton House to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Every other member of staff, bar the ten support staff, is transferring into the new Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) or the new Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).

The ten remaining staff have been told by the DCSF that they ‘service’ Caxton House and will be retained by the DWP. However the work that the support staff cover has been privatised in the DWP and they now face being transferred to either Hadens or Group 4.

Tomorrow’s compulsorily transfer of the ten staff who have over 165 years of combined service comes as PCS members finalise voting on further national strike action across the civil service as part of the union’s campaign against job cuts, below inflation pay and privatisation. The campaign has already seen two strongly supported national one day strikes this year.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “We had hoped that we could have avoided strike action through talks last week, but the department now seem unwilling to rectify the unjust situation in which these ten people with over 165 years of combined service are in. It is simply wrong that these ten hardworking people should be forcibly transferred to the private sector. If they are going to be transferred then they should be moved to the DWP not a private contractor. This unjust situation needs to be rectified by senior management recognising the strength of feeling by either moving the ten staff with the rest of the workforce or by ensuring they remain in the public sector when they transfer to the DWP.”