Civil servants to strike

THOUSANDS of civil servants are set to strike in Suffolk over government plans to cut 100,000 jobs.Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union - which represents central government staff - have voted for industrial action.

THOUSANDS of civil servants are set to strike in Suffolk over government plans to cut 100,000 jobs in the public sector, it has been announced.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents civil and public servants in central government, voted for industrial action yesterday.

The move could affect thousands of people in Suffolk employed by the public sector and includes the court service, revenue and customs, driving test centres, the department for work and pensions and museums.

A one-day strike is planned for January 31 and follows the first compulsory redundancies in the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Department for Trade and Industry (DTI).

Harvey Crane, Suffolk convenor from PCS, said: “Obviously it is regrettable but the forced redundancies were the last straw.

“We are not a very militant group - in fact we have only ever had one strike in 22 years - but this time we thought the government had gone too far.

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“Potentially there could be thousands of workers striking as we have offices around the county in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe and Lowestoft to name just a few.

“Negotiations will be ongoing until the day of the strike and we'll be working hard to try to get assurances that there will be no more compulsory redundancies.”

He said in Revenue and Customs alone 8,000 jobs had gone already and the target was to cut 25 per cent of jobs and to close up to 200 offices across the country.

This will disadvantage people with families and part time workers in particular, Mr Crane said.

He added that the job losses would ultimately affect the quality of frontline services.

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