PCS Campaign Poster
BY BIRMINGHAM AGAINST THE CUTS | MARCH 22, 2013 · 3:03 PM
ON Wednesday, the PCS Union who represent civil servants, began a series of industrial actions and strikes to defend jobs pay, conditions and pensions from this government’s austerity agenda.
In Birmingham pickets were held around the city at government offices and job centres.
Turnout rates in the region were at 80%-90% for many places, with over a third of the staff at Selly Oak Jobcentre turning out for the picket line itself.
Pickets were followed by a lunchtime rally at which Sian Ruddick read message of support before introducing the speakers, which started with Phil Murray, a worker at the Selly Oak Jobcentre.
Next to speak was Kit Armstrong from the NUT, who delivered a message of solidarity from teaching unions who will be going on strike in the Summer.
“this government is systematically dismantling our school structure in front of our eyes … [they are] stealing the schools, never mind the milk, and handing them over to their friends in big business.”
Then the regional secretary from the TUC, Rob Jonston spoke
“We’ve said for the past 3, 4 years that austerity is self-defeating and time and time again we’ve been proven right!”
Yesterday, unemployment figures showed a rise nationally and locally.
Tom, a local campaigner with UK Uncut and Boycott Workfare spoke about how PCS had worked in solidarity with campaigns, and called for PCS to do more to fight sanctions and welfare reform, warning job centre staff to:
“remember that when universal credit comes in later this year, any part time workers will be facing the same conditionality as unemployed people, so you might find yourself working alongside someone one day, stopping their benefits the next.”
During the debate on the retrospective workfare bill that robbed £130m of sanctions from claimants who were unlawfully sanctioned, Mark Hoban (the minister for unemployment) repeatedly told the house of commons that there were no sanctions targets.
The PCS Regional Secretary, Chris Bough finished the rally with a storming speech about the attacks on the civil service, the public sector, our economy and communities and the alternatives that we should be implementing instead of self-defeating austerity.
“We must challenge the deception that we cannot afford decent public services, we cannot afford decent pay and pensions, we cannot afford real jobs when £120bn is lost every year to tax avoiders and evaders”
PCS’s next action is on April 5th.