PCS members walk out on Maude . . . as he suggested

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Two hundred PCS members in Coventry last week took Francis Maude at his word and staged a 15-minute walkout when he visited their offices.

In the run-up to last year’s mass strike on November 30th, the Cabinet Office minister  suggested unions could hold quarter of an hour stoppages instead of full days of strike action, so HMRC staff left their offices on Thursday as he arrived.

PCS midlands regional secretary Andrew Lloyd said: “Maude snuck in through a back entrance and was in a meeting on the premises when everyone walked out.

“He would have heard them all going, especially the members who booed when they walked past the meeting room he was in. We also know he heard our shouts and chants of ‘Shame!’ and ‘Stop attacking our terms and conditions!’ from outside.

“He was expecting a gentle ride in the meeting because he was taking a Q & A session with people who had been specially picked because they weren’t too vocal, but even they gave him a really hard time so while he was trying to play the consummate politician, he was squirming at the questions.

“The action attracted lots of new people who don’t normally attend union meetings and the added bonus was our members didn’t lose pay, so it was a pain-free way to making our point. All in all it was a good day for the union and a bad day for Francis Maude.”

Members are angry at Cabinet Office plans to review all terms and conditions in the civil service, including hours, holidays and family-friendly policies such as flexible working and part-time hours. This comes at the same time that civil service jobs, pay and pensions are being cut.

Andrew Lloyd said: “These latest proposals feel like further punishment to civil servants just for being public sector workers, and of course is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the government’s cuts have not made matters better, but worse. Worse for places like Coventry that has seen more than 500 jobs lost since the coalition came to power.

“These latest threats are also undoubtedly linked to more privatisation of the civil service, leaving civil servants on the lowest of terms, making it easy for the most unscrupulous of employers to buy up and profit from services.”


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