PCS says demo shows members will not sit quietly by while the government cuts jobs and working conditions


PCS members at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs yesterday protested against job cuts outside their headquarters.

As the union considere an industrial action ballot of its 3,500 members across Defra and its agencies, representatives unfurled a banner outside a head office building in London.

The union is campaigning against cuts to jobs, pay and conditions, and the threat of privatisation.

A ballot could be launched later this month for PCS members in Defra, the Rural Payments Agency, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the Marine Management Organisation and Natural England.

As well as job cuts, staff face being forced out of the civil service by privatisation and are in the frontline of punitive and arbitrary changes to the performance management system, which the union says is simply designed to make it easier to sack people.

The campaign in Defra complements an ongoing national campaign against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay, which included a strike across the civil service, health and education sectors on 10 May, and action in civil service departments, including rolling strikes in the Department for Transport and industrial action in HM Revenue and Customs.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This protest shows that the people who work for Defra will not sit quietly by while the government cuts their jobs and working conditions.

“There is now overwhelming evidence that austerity isn’t working and the government should stop its cuts immediately and start investing to help our economy get back on track and improve our public services.”

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