Members of the Public & Commercial Services Union, the largest in the civil service, are challenging changes to their redundancy scheme. A two-day strike at the start of March was followed up with lobbying and demonstrations, then another strike on Budget Day.
The ballot turnout was low, tempting management to claim that the action would be ineffectual. The turnout for the strikes was reasonably good, but it is not clear how the union sees the dispute developing, especially since the other five unions have accepted the government proposals.
The union campaign is headlined “No job cuts on the cheap”. The fear is that these worsened terms are a prelude to a concerted attempt to reduce numbers whatever the result of the election. Civil service workers expect this and a pay freeze, but have not yet decided that the time is right for a direct challenge to their employer.