Momentum is building on the second day of strike action in the Home Office. Members in different areas of the Home Office are taking part in four days of strike action this week. As part of a rolling programme of action across the civil service, and in pursuit of national demands, PCS are escalating action to a week of strikes across the Home Office, involving different areas taking action on consecutive days. PCS Socialist Appeal supporters report on the ongoing action.
Momentum is building on the second day of strike action in the Home Office. Members in different areas of the Home Office are taking part in four days of strike action this week. As part of our rolling programme of action across the civil service, and in pursuit of our national demands, PCS are escalating action to a week of strikes across the Home Office. This is involves different areas taking action on consecutive days. Wednesday involved members in immigration and settlement – permanent migration as well as those working at Home Office headquarters in Marsham Street, London.
At the Capital Building in Liverpool, reps reported that the “place was virtually empty in the areas on strike” and that the action has been solidly supported. Group president Andy Jennings, who was on the Liverpool picket line, said: “It is the best supported action in a long time and staff are commenting that they like the strategy that the union has come up with.”
This was the main day for people in this building to be on strike. There were up to 20 pickets through the morning, with support also from local PCS branches Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) and National Museums Liverpool. There was also support on the picket line from reps from Unite the union. The branch observed very few members going in who should have been on strike. Many staff going in said “I was out yesterday” or “It’s my turn tomorrow”. One person even said “I was on strike yesterday, I wish I was on strike again today too”. People were taking leaflets setting out what people should be doing to observe the work to rule and how they can demonstrate solidarity with members on strike today. Some reps who were not due to strike today went through the building to undertake a Health & Safety inspection to identify any H&S issues. On their inspection they were able to note that there were over 1,000 staff who should have been working today but had observed the strike action.
As usual a line of 8 senior managers (with combined wages amounting to approx £460,000) positioned themselves just inside the doors watching the pickets and taking names, acting as glorified ‘meeters and greeters’ for any solitary scabs who squirmed past the picket line.
Notice for this series of strike action across the Home Office was served to the employer on the day of Thatcher’s death. This action has seen members take strike action on the eve of her funeral, on the day that she is cremated, and will see further action tomorrow and the day after that. It was the wish of Thatcher to destroy trade unions and the resolve of the working class; the action of PCS members shows the unions, unlike Thatcher, are far from dead.
As an aside story to come out of today’s strike: it was brought to the attention of the union that a Home Office employee wanted to travel to London to pay his respects to Mrs. Thatcher, but was unable to do so. Management blocked leave for the day as PCS were on strike and this meant that the only way he could attend would be to join in the industrial action. Being a Tory, this was not an option and the irony of that situation is not lost on PCS. Obviously PCS members thoughts are with him at this sad time.
The action continues tomorrow across the UK for members in resource and organisational development, director of operations, strategy and intelligence, international operations and visas. These departmental strikes form part of the union’s three-month national campaign of industrial action and protests over imposed cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions that included a half-day walkout. As the government refuses to talk on these fundamental issues PCS members have acted with a major show of strength in order to bring the employer into proper negotiations.