PCS conference hears of workers actions and plans for more


EHRC workers on strike (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A rolling wave of strikes at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) entered its second week on Monday. Members of the PCS union at the EHRC office in central London began a five day walkout.

The strikers are fighting against cuts to the EHRC’s budget which saw eight workers at offices across Britain sacked by email.

One EHRC worker at PCS conference in Brighton this week said the sackings were “disgraceful behaviour by EHRC management”.

Action

This week’s action in London comes after a five day strike by EHRC workers in Glasgow last week. It is set to be followed by strikes in Cardiff from Monday to Friday of next week, and Manchester from 5 June to 9 June.

Speaking to delegates at PCS conference, Manchester EHRC worker Maurice Shaw said strikers had been “overwhelmed by messages of support”.

But he appealed for more support throughout the rest of the strikes, explaining that their fight was a fight for all trade unionists.

“If we lose, it means that every civil service department will see and think, if the EHRC can get away with it, we can get away with it” he said.


Workers mobilise against jobcentre closure in Sheffield

Workers at a Sheffield jobcentre are set to strike next Thursday against the closure and relocation of their office saying the planned closure will badly affect benefits claimants.

Lee Rock, a PCS rep at the jobcentre said the key issue in campaign to stop the closure “is the impact on the local community”.

The office closure would force claimants to travel much further to get to their next nearest jobcentre. This puts benefit claimants at greater risk of being sanctioned if they arrive late.

Delegates at the PCS conference voted for motions that pledged to resist jobcentre closures and they promised to oppose all compulsory redundancies.

Fight

A PCS rep told delegates at the conference “If necessary Sheffield will fight alone. But our preference is not to fight alone but to fight with other offices across the DWP.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka encouraged branches to organise strikes, telling delegates that successful campaigns “give everybody hope”.

DWP group executive committee member Sam Hall said the office closures were “the greatest threat to our members’ jobs for many years.”

“An industrial action campaign will be fundamental to the success of ending office closures”.

Local, coordinated strikes building towards national action can stop office closures in both DWP and HMRC