Angry civil servants to stage strike in Plymouth on budget day
ANGRY civil servants are set to go on strike on Budget Day in protest at cuts to their jobs and pay.
The one-day strike on March 20 is the first of a programme of action by the Public and Commercial Services union.
"People are angry," Dave Franklin, PCS rep at the Land Registry in Plymouth and a regional committee member, said.
"In my own workforce people have lost thousands of pounds over the past three years."
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He said a pay freeze and increases in pensions contributions had hit civil servants' standard of living.
The Government has said that pay rises will be capped at 1per cent for each of the next three years.
"This is not going to be just a one-day strike," Mr Franklin said. "Members have voted for a sustained campaign of action."
In Plymouth the Land Registry, Court Service, Devonport Dockyard, the Borders Agency, HM Revenues and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions are expected to be hit by the walk-out.
The union's national executive agreed yesterday to hold a three-month programme of action, starting with the all-day strike on March 20 to coincide with the Chancellor's Budget speech.
The strike will be followed up with more strikes on dates yet to be announced.
Employers face other forms of disruptive industrial action short of a strike, and strike days will be interspersed with protests and campaigning activities.
"The union has asked for talks on the key issues affecting the lives of civil servants and the services they are able to provide to the public, but the Government has refused to negotiate," a spokesperson said.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This is the start of a rolling programme of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a Government that is refusing to talk to us.
"Civil and public servants are working harder than ever to provide the services we all rely on but, instead of rewarding them, the Government is imposing cuts to their pay, raiding their pensions and trying to rip up their basic working conditions.
"We warned more than two years ago that austerity wouldn't work and we were right.
"There is an alternative to cutting the living standards of hard-working public servants and our campaign is designed to make the case loud and clear."