The Ealing HMRC strike sums up what’s wrong with the way the government is treating the civil service, says PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka.
Our members at International House took part in the first action of the renewed strike mandate following a successful ballot when they walked out at noon yesterday in the campaign over the closure of the office. As they walked out they were greeted by a massive round of applause from their supporters before heading to a nearby rally, chaired by our national president Fran Heathcote, where they were addressed by Mark. The next half day of action will take place Thursday 12 December, starting with another walkout at noon.
Fran said she hoped the Ealing members’ action would inspire other groups of workers that there is something they can do to prevent these closures.
In a video for PCS after the rally Mark explained why the Ealing strike sums up what’s wrong with the way the government is treating the civil service.
“The staff have more than 4,000 years of experience and do a vital job, some of already been through two office closures, and they’ve had to come back out on strike because the government and HMRC management are treating them in such a shocking way,” he said.
“Next week is a further bout of industrial action in Ealing. They’re walking out at noon on 12 December, the day Britain goes to the polls and we have a chance to elect the government. For PCS members it’s not just electing the government, it’s electing directly our employer, and in many ways the strike tells us why we need a change of government.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to our union to say that if his party is elected next week there would be an immediate halt on all office closures, including Ealing, and they will talk to PCS about the future.
Mark said that was “in stark contrast to what Boris Johnson and his cabinet are doing. We know also that for civil service pay – 1% under the Tories, 5% if Jeremy Corbyn gets into office, preserving our redundancy scheme, which the Conservatives have told us they will cut by 30%.”
Mark said pay, office closures and redundancy pay were all at stake in the election and that’s why we desperately need to get rid of the government.
“That’s why we would like to see Jeremy Corbyn in office. But however you vote, and whatever happens next week in the general election, by being in PCS, by being in a strong union, we can still ensure that members in Ealing can fight to keep their office open and we all can fight for better pay and conditions.”
Mark encouraged PCS members and supporters to send messages of support to the Ealing strikers, and added: “Let’s get rid of this government next week.”
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