Public services workers balloted on strike action

HUNDREDS of workers across East Cambridgeshire could join a one-day strike later this month in a bid to save their jobs. The day of action would affect workers in Job Centres, benefits offices, courts and prisons and customs and revenue and Ministry of D

HUNDREDS of workers across East Cambridgeshire could join a one-day strike later this month in a bid to save their jobs.

The day of action would affect workers in Job Centres, benefits offices, courts and prisons and customs and revenue and Ministry of Defence employees and driving instructors.

It could also hit the processing of last-minute tax returns, leaving people facing the possibility of £100 fines.

About 280,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union nationally are being balloted for ongoing industrial action, beginning with a one-day strike on


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January 31.

The union is calling for action because it claims the Government is continuing to give assurances on job security, drive down pay and pursue a policy of outsourcing and privatisation.

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Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "The decision to ballot for industrial action to secure assurances on job security and services, in addition to pay and privatisation could have been avoided if the Government had sought to meaningfully negotiate.

"Job cuts are damaging services and are completely unnecessary. Morale among the Government's own workforce has plummeted and anger grown with tens of thousands of hardworking civil and public servants also facing a pay cut in real terms, due to the Chancellor's intention to drive down pay."

But Pat McFadden, Cabinet Office minister, said there was no need for a strike and the Government would do everything in its power to minimise the effect on the public.

Mr McFadden said fewer than 35 compulsory redundancies had been announced so far.

The Government would do all it could to avoid compulsory job cuts but had a duty to taxpayers to achieve value for money and use new technologies to make services more efficient.

He said: "The civil service, like the private sector, has to change to meet both public expectations and to adapt to the possibilities offered by new technology. There is no need for strike action."

The results of the ballot, which started yesterday (Wednesday) will be known on January 23.

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