Tuesday, 18 March 2008

DWP Strike Reports

On Monday and Tuesday this week, civil servants in the dwp have been taking strike action against their appallingly low pay offer - below are some reports from wales

Merthyr Tydfil

Dave Reid spoke to Aidan Price, secretary of the Eastern Valley DWP branch PCS:

People are really angry about this; it’s not a fair pay deal. I think we have over three quarters of union members backing this strike today and in other offices in the branch about 90%. 40% of our members in DWP would get 1% this year and effectively nothing for two years of this three year pay deal and that’s not acceptable. I think we have got to get over the message that public sector workers should be paid fairly.

The government has also decided that they are going to go 5% above the recommended civil service cuts for the next three years so we’re looking at 12,000 further redundancies within DWP and that is bound to increase the workload on people who are already coping with very high workloads.

We also have a problem with the attendance management policy, a lot of people are being sacked because of sickness, that’s a real area of concern for the union and we have the issue of progression within pay bands. There is also the issue of national pay. We want parity between the different departments so that the same grade in all departments gets the same level of pay.

“PCS is part of the wider trade union movement and we are always looking to put forward the case of hard working public sector people. It’s very important that we are paid fairly and that our pay keeps in line with inflation. Across the board we do very important jobs for the public and I think it should be recognised and we should be paid fairly. You only need to come and see the work that we do to realise how important it is. We’re not pen pushers and we work very hard for our money.”

Swansea - Pension Centre picket line,
Roger Langley, DWP Branch Organiser for the Swansea Pension Centre gave the following angry but determined report to Swansea Socialist Party members:

“We’re out again because the latest is that we forced management back round the table to talk because we’d rather be talking than out. But when we did get back round the table there was no further offer, it was just a smoke screen, but we were willing to talk and enter meaningful negotiations. But they’ve forced us into taking another 2 days of action on Monday which is the busiest day of the week and the Tuesday following.
What is really biting in the department is that the 30,00 job cuts that Gordon Brown previously announced has meant a huge extra workload for the staff remaining. So, with all the extra workload and then being told there’s no pay increase for 25% of our staff this year because of this imposed three year pay deal, we had no option but to go on strike.

Iain Dalton, Bangor Socialist Party reports:

Six members and reps picketed outside Bangor Contact Centre, with some new members joining on the day and some also being turned back too. Anger was very high at the low pay these workers have to accept, with several either working or looking to work two jobs at once to afford to live. .

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