Benefits staff put stop on overtime

Public sector workers gathered in Blackpool town centre for a rally and march
Public sector workers gathered in Blackpool town centre for a rally and march
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PUBLIC servants have pledged to carry on taking industrial action unless Government talks over their pensions progress.

Thousands of teachers, government workers and hospital staff took to the streets of Blackpool on Wednesday in the biggest day of strike action the nation has seen in the past 30 years.

The public sector is fighting government plans to increase pension contributions and raise the retirement age.

Workers at the Department for Work and Pensions have pledged to carry out an overtime ban throughout December as a follow-up to the mass action.

Duncan Griffiths secretary of the Fylde Central Benefits and Services Branch of the PCS union, said: “We took action and will now follow it up with an overtime ban throughout December.

“The Government talks about wanting to cut jobs. You would think that there were too many staff, if you believed that there was scope to cut jobs. But at the same time as job cuts are being inflicted on the Fylde workforce, large amounts of overtime is offered as there aren’t enough staff to cope with the workload.

“The members have decided that it is time for them to have to stand up for their rights, and I expect they will demonstrate their anger by not working the overtime that is being offered.”

Steve Holmes of Unison, representing NHS workers in Blackpool, said the onus was on the Government to hold meaningful talks and put an offer on the table after six months of stalled talks.

He added: “There was never a firm offer made before.

“We welcome negotiations to find a way out of this situation.

“It’s up to the Government to come and talk or we will have to consider taking more action – and that’s something we seriously hope can be avoided.”

Rosalind Homer of the National Union of Teachers added: “The Government is talking to the teaching unions but we will have another meeting with the Blackpool Against Cuts Alliance on December 9.”