Support strong on second day of civil service strike

Sittings in the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament were cancelled today on the second day of a 48 hour UK strike by civil and public servants over cuts to redundancy terms.

The government claims it can do nothing about bankers’ bonuses because of contractual obligations, yet appears content to tear up the contracts of loyal civil servants and change the law to do so.”

Support for the strike remained solid as up to 200,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) stayed away from work for a second day.

Court sittings in England and Wales were disrupted for a second day in addition to the cancellation of a further estimated 2,000 driving tests. Jobcentres were offering little or no service to public and there was also difficulty in people getting through to call centres dealing with taxes and benefits. Over 50,000 members working for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stayed away from work.

The issuing of passports was disrupted with the counter at the Glasgow passport office closed and approximately 260 appointments cancelled in London. The union estimated that approximately 80,000 passports have been delayed due to the industrial action.

Civilian staff working for the Met Police were also on strike, resulting in police officers answering 999 calls and security in the Houses of Parliament for a second day.

Immigration controls for ferry traffic heading to the UK were also hit as the vast majority of border officials working in Dover and on juxtaposed controls in Calais, Dunkirk, Coquelles and Boulogne walked out.

The two day strike, called by PCS is over changes to the civil service compensation scheme which will see staff robbed of up to a third of their entitlements and lead to loyal civil and public servants losing tens of thousands of pounds if they are forced out of a job.

The union fears that the government wants to make it easier for whoever wins the general election to cut low paid civil and public servants on the cheap.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “Support for the strike remains solid as civil and public servants from across the UK have demonstrated their anger over government plans to cut jobs on the cheap. The government claims it can do nothing about bankers’ bonuses because of contractual obligations, yet appears content to tear up the contracts of loyal civil servants and change the law to do so.

“Not only do these changes rob civil servants of tens of thousands of pounds if they are forced out of their jobs, but it will make it easier to slash jobs which will affect the services we all rely on. An overtime ban across the civil service will start tomorrow with the possibility of further walkouts looming in the coming weeks should the government refuse to reach an agreement that protects existing members’ entitlements.”

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