|"Lets Unite and Fight Together" |
Dave Chapple (Secretary SATC)
Trades union members throughout Somerset joined civil service union PCS on picket lines yesterday, Budget Day, to express anger and disgust over the Government’s savage cuts in public sector jobs and essential services, and their refusal to negotiate an end to a four-year pay freeze for civil servants. The Chancellor announced he is extending the pay freeze (a real terms pay cut) into 2015-16.
One quarter of a million public sector workers from job centres, tax offices, courts, ports and airports went on strike throughout Britain. There are more strikes planned, unless the government agrees to negotiate over pay and conditions.
At Weston’s County Court, court enforcement staff have been taking strike action over the last 2 months over the threatened privatisation of the enforcement and collection of fixed penalties and unpaid fines, which would put people at the mercy of unscrupulous private bailiffs, and reduce the effective fines and enforcement rates currently achieved by enforcement staff. A 'work to rule' by court staff has lead to a massive fall in fines revenue - proof that civil servants go above and beyond. Privatisation doesn’t work!
A strike rally in Bristol heard workers from Job Centres describe their daily experience of the misery perpetrated by a government which is slashing jobs and increasing sanctions on the unemployed and disabled.
PCS Vice-President John McInally accused the government of using the economic crisis to destroy public services and shift the balance of wealth and power into the hands of a wealthy minority. “This is the longest recession since the 20s, and forecasts say it will last another 20 years, he said, “but the government’s austerity programme isn’t working and we must bring it to an end.”
The Somerset Association of Trades Union Councils fully supports the PCS and joins demands for the TUC to call a 24-hour General Strike over the failed economic policies and triple-dip recession of an incompetent government which is punishing the poor, disabled and vulnerable for the greed and blunders of bankers and politicians.
SATC Secretary Dave Chapple said: “This government’s aim is the total privatisation of the civil service, along with health and education. Public sector workers deliver services more cheaply and efficiently than the private sector. The railways are living proof of the failure of privatisation. Let’s unite and fight together to destroy them before they destroy our society.”