Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Solidarity with the PCS Union Strikers!

I'm just back from the picket line at Euston Tower, joining representatives of the PCS Union and Unison on their budget day #M20 strike to protest against Government attacks on civil servants' pay, pensions and working conditions.

The strikers' demands are simple:  fair pay for all civil servants now, and no privatisation of key public services.

I was a civil servant myself for some years, as were others in my family.  People don't become civil servants to get rich - they do so because they want to serve the public and play a part in providing key public services.  Civil servants do hard work for less money than the private sector - 5 to 10% less pay for the same jobs, in fact.

The last government, under Blair and Brown, sought to undermine public servants at every turn.  They suggested that the private sector was in some way superior to the public sector.  That's an insidious, damaging and wrongheaded idea that, together with Ed Miliband's failure to support the strikers, does continuing damage to the public sector.

Now public sector pay and pensions, and working conditions, are under attack from the Con-Dem coalition.

At the PCS Euston picket line, 20 March 2013
We in the Green Party are clear: the private sector - acting for profit, lining the pockets of directors and shareholders - can never match up to the public sector, acting for the common good and in the public interest, when it comes to the delivery of key public services like running the NHS or providing welfare benefits advice to vulnerable people.

So today we say:  shame on this Government.  Shame on Ed Miliband for failing to support public sector workers.  We stand with the strikers in standing up to the Government and demanding an end to its failed austerity measures which threaten to send us into a triple-dip recession.  As the PCS Union has pointed out, a rise in civil service pay this year to keep pace with inflation could be more than paid for by serious action against wealthy tax dodgers.  

Good luck and solidarity to all the strikers today.  We hope that the Government - and the Labour party -are listening.

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