Civil servants strike across region
- Credit: Archant
Civil servants across the region went on strike yesterday, and their colleagues plan more disruption on Monday.
The 'long weekend' of walkouts is taking place across the country as part of a dispute with the government over cuts to pay, pensions and conditions, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said.
Civil and public servants working in most government departments and agencies were on strike from 1pm for half a day yesterday. And around 55,000 PCS members in HM Revenue and Customs will hold a half-day strike on Monday morning.
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said it was prepared for any strike action and said that wherever possible Jobcentres would remain open to the public.
A DWP spokesman said: 'We have measures in place to deliver and maintain a service for the public. We expect everyone who is entitled to receive pension or benefit payments will receive them.'
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The PCS regional secretary, Richard Edwards, was leading the protests at the DWP call centre in Mountergate, Norwich, yesterday, where more than 200 people work.
He said the union had asked for talks over cuts to civil service pay, pensions and terms and conditions, but the government had refused to negotiate.
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He said: 'The government is not talking to us, and we will continue to take strike action until it does.'
The walkouts form part of a three-month programme of industrial action and protests, which began with a national strike on budget day, March 20.
Mr Edwards added: 'I understand that 95pc of the workforce nationwide came out on that day, which is one of our best turn-outs.'
David Seagrave, PCS branch secretary for Norfolk and Suffolk, said: 'We are expecting about 90pc of the workforce in the region to come out today.
'The escalating action is a result of the government not talking to us. There has been a noticeable shift in the government's attitude to us over the last few years. Striking is the last resort for us.'