Civil servants in strike day

Members of the PCS union on the picket line at Fylde Land Registry in Warton yesterday.
Members of the PCS union on the picket line at Fylde Land Registry in Warton yesterday.
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FYLDE civil servants walked out on strike yesterday as part of a national protest over pay and working conditions.

Picket lines formed at offices including the Fylde Land Registry on Lytham Road, Warton, and at Warbreck House in Blackpool.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union took part in a day of national action timed to coincide with the budget.

Emily Kelly, PCS Fylde Land Registry branch chairman, said: “We have had a pay freeze over the last five years and we have many people who are struggling financially.

“The union has been dealing with hardship cases for some time.

“But this is not just about pay.

“The Government has been changing our contractual pensions which people signed up to years ago.

“They are also trying to alter our terms and conditions, like leave, without negotiation.

“It is a very difficult decision for people on such low incomes to decide to go out on strike, but we have got good support and we will keep going until the Government speaks to us.”

Grant McClure, branch chairman of the DWP Fylde Central Benefits and Services branch which represents staff working for the Department of Work and Pensions, said: “Members will have seen their pay reduce by 20 per cent in real terms over an eight-year period thanks to the latest announcements from the Chancellor.

“The impact of the cuts to our pay, our pay progression and the change from RPI (retail price index) to CPI (consumer price index) means a cut of 28.8 per cent to 34.2 per cent in our pensions, even before we start on the public sector workers’ tax to pay down the debt left behind by the rich and privileged.”

The Government said services had continued to be delivered.

It estimated around 95,000 civil servants nationally had taken part in the strike, but the PCS was expecting around 250,000 of its members to walk out.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said: “I want to thank the majority of dedicated and committed public sector workers who have turned up to work today to deliver essential services.

“I can reassure the public that we are keeping essential services open.

“Our rigorous contingency plans are in place across all sectors and as a result there has been minimal impact on public services.”

The PCS is proposing further walkouts and disruptive action as part of its ongoing dispute over paying and conditions.

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