Tuesday 4 June saw HMRC and DWP workers in the North West of England walk out as part of a week of rolling strike action by PCS. They were joined by Health and Safety Executive staff taking part in a national strike.
The day was marked by bright sunshine and temperatures of around 21°C, and thus the rare sight of pickets in shorts rather than many layers and heavy coats!
There were solid turnouts for action across the region, including 100% of staff on strike in Regian House. In Bootle, around 96% of staff from the Triad and Litherland House took part – reflecting the traditionally strong support that Bootle Taxes Branch musters for industrial action. There were lively and determined picket lines all around the local area.
Pickets joined a rally outside Bootle Jobcentre Plus at 11am, where members of local campaign group Stand Up In Bootle came to show their support. With an open platform, a number of striking workers and community members spoke of their feelings about this campaign and of the need to take on the government, all receiving cheers and applause for their contributions.
The rally was followed by an impromptu march, with protesters taking to the road behind the Stand Up In Bootle “battle bus” to march towards the picket line at the Triad.
As ever, pickets at the Triad held the line until after 5pm due to the Evening Shift there. And as ever the number who went in could be counted in single figures – this time, two – which marked a positive end to an extremely lively day of action.
The week of action started with members in the North East, Yorkshire & Humberside walking out on Monday, coinciding with the pilot closure of HMRC Enquiry Centres. London, the South East and the Midlands struck on Wednesday, Wales and the South East followed them on Thursday, and the week concluded with action in Scotland and Eastern England. PCS members in the Ministry of Justice also walked out at 1pm on the Friday.
This forms part of an ongoing programme of disruptive action across the civil service. PCS is demanding talks over pay, pensions, jobs and terms and conditions, with more action to follow if the government continues to refuse.