civil servants strike on budget day

Striking civil servants have set up pickets in Westminster to embarrass the Government on Budget Day. Steve Ryan reports.

Despite the excellent support for the two day PCS strike on 8th-9th March, it seems the government are refusing to negotiate on the changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

As such the union’s National Executive have called a further one day strike on 24th March – Budget Day.The dispute is now crucial as it is clear that Labour are seeking to act tough and beat one of the most militant unions in the TUC. It is also emerging that the attack on terms and conditions is not just about slashing jobs put softening up for privatisation.

The further strike is a big ask of low paid members, but it is a paramount that it is supported. Comrades within PCS should be putting every effort into building for the day and making it a success. Comrades outside PCS should be urging maximum solidarity and where possible arguing for linked disputes, It is significant that this is at the same time as the British Airways strike and upcoming RMT dispute.

This looks like PCS is in for the long haul and must not be allowed to lose. To do this, however, as The Commune has consistently argued, will take more innovative tactics than one day strikes and the question of a levy is now urgent. Ordinary members themselves are urging such tactics, and this is where the setting up of support groups and strike committees will play a crucial part in ensuring the action is controlled and built from below by rank and file activists.

It is now all too clear that workers are paying for the recession. The PCS fightback is to be applauded, but mass action will be needed as attacks grow, as they will over the coming months. Communists should seize every opportunity to fight back and unite struggles, from strikes to resisting stock transfers (now spreading like wild fire in Wales), supporting migrant workers, resisting fascists and supporting environmental protests. Uniting industrial and community actions, and diverse strands on the left, is the key to re-building a real workers movement, and hence massive resistance to capitalism in its time of crisis.