PCS strikes included the British Museum this week

Workers at the British Museum, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency all began strikes on Monday of this week.

They joined workers in jobcentres and benefits offices in Liverpool and Greater Manchester who had already been striking since Thursday of last week.

The action is part of a fight across the whole civil service over pay, pensions and jobs. Members of the PCS union have joined rolling, targeted action hitting different government departments and workplaces.

Jobcentre and other benefits workers also face office closures that could threaten jobs. In Stockport, Greater Manchester, striker, Alan, told Socialist Worker, “Our strike here is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong in the civil service. It’s also about the service we provide to the public. For example, there’s still a threat of closure hanging over the important office in Hyde.”

Pickets also recalled other attacks. “They took 2 percent off the pension”, said Julie. “That was even after we won a case against them in the courts.”

Workers at the British Museum were set to strike until Sunday of this week. The action at Animal and Plant Health Agency offices in Bristol and Carlisle was set to run until Friday of this week. So was a strike by some workers at a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency office in Swansea.

It comes after the PCS union’s leadership voted to call all its members with active strike votes on strike alongside teachers on Wednesday 15 March.

But they voted down a motion by Socialist Worker supporters on the national executive committee to join the teachers on 16 March too.

Up to 100,000 civil service workers struck together—along with other workers—during a day of strikes on 1 February. It showed widespread enthusiasm for action, especially among newer, younger members.

Together they’re a powerful force. But the limited targeted action, punctuated by only single days of all‑out strikes, leaves that power largely untapped. Longer strikes—involving every civil service worker—have a much better chance of winning.

For picket line details go here

Don’t delay action any longer on the Tube—demos should not stop strikes

RMT union leaders had not called strikes on the London Underground at the start of this week, despite rumours of imminent action. Workers face 600 job cuts that will put more pressure on remaining staff and threaten safety and passenger services.

The jobs facing the axe include people on the ticket gates and those who manage crowds on the platform—critical safety roles.

The 10,000 Underground workers have previously struck alongside other groups of workers including Underground staff in the Unite union and 40,000 rail workers employed by train operating companies and Network Rail.

Many workers were expecting a call to strike for 48-hours including on 15 March, alongside members of the PCS and NEU unions.

But NEU officials allegedly wrote to the RMT asking them not to strike to allow their members to travel to a planned strike “carnival” in central London. Another version suggests the initiative not to strike came from the RMT.

Whichever is true, it’s a rotten suggestion that the best way to deepen the power of united strikes is not to strike.

The Tube striking alongside other public sector workers would be a boost to the RMT fight and will increase the effectiveness of the teachers’ action. It is still possible to have a big demonstration in London on 15 March, and a Tube strike would add to the government’s crisis.

Now Tube workers must demand more and longer strikes, coordinated with others when possible, to drive the dispute to victory over jobs and more.

New Amazon strike days announced 

Amazon workers have announced a series of strikes at one of the company’s warehouses in a dispute over pay.

The GMB said more than 350 staff at the fulfilment centre in Coventry will walk out on 28 February, 2 March and from 13 to 17 March.

The union said its members made history last month by becoming the first Amazon workers in Britain to strike in their campaign for a pay rate of £15 an hour.

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