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Government to face 72 hours of public sector strikes

The government is facing 72 hours strike action next month as civil servants and public sector workers join NHS staff in planned walkouts.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will stage a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday 15 October. The union expects 250,000 of its members to take part in the action.

This will follow a day of action from NHS workers on the Monday and a strike by council workers on Tuesday.

The unions are striking over pay, the PCS says, because since 2010, taking into account pay cuts and monthly pension contribution increases, many civil servants have suffered a 20% cut in their real-terms income.

As previously reported by National Health Executive, PSE’s sister publication, the NHS action is being taken over the government’s decision to institute a below-inflation 1% non-consolidated pay rise, ignoring the recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Body, which specifically said that a non-consolidated pay award could have an “adverse impact on staff engagement and motivation” and recommended against it.

The action will include employees of Westminster government departments and agencies, and the Wales assembly, but not those who work in bodies under the jurisdiction of the Scottish government.

At the Labour conference, PCS launched a new report by tax expert Richard Murphy that shows tax evasion now deprives our public finances of £80bn a year.

Collecting even a fraction of these stolen billions would change the debate about public spending overnight, the union says.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “These strikes show we are serious about bringing an end to pay cuts that have slashed the living standards of public servants while the super rich have been rewarded with tax cuts.

“Until we chase down the tax dodgers and invest properly in our communities and public services, the so-called economic recovery will only ever benefit millionaires, while the millions pay the price.”

(Image: Public sector workers march through Nottingham as part of the 10 July walkout over pay, pensions, jobs and spending cuts. c. Tim Goode)

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