PCS union members at Defra were joined by York People’s Assembly and radical caterers ‘Food Not Bombs’ on today’s picket line. The government are handing their department to French Multinational Steria, who are threatening to move many jobs overseas. This would require the transmission of vast chunks of personal data between Britain and India computers, with serious security implications. The union have threatened to return next Thursday if no offer of job security is forthcoming.
Although the promised visit from Steria bosses never took place (we apologise for the mix up – it happened the previous day), it was clearly a worthwhile action. A national PCS staff member described ongoing negotiations in which both the cabinet office and Steria appear to be on the back foot, routinely asking how strike action could be averted. PCS wisely turned down offers of goodwill, demanding a substantive agreement that would give workers an equal standard of employment under the new management company.
It marks the start of a busy phase for York People’s Assembly’s strike support work, with staff across Universities set to walk out next Thursday (31st, the day of the 2nd PCS strike) followed by the Posties walk out on Monday 4th November. Anyone who wants to find out about this area of activity is welcome to join the Strike Support group that will meet on Monday 4th November at 7.30pm in Friends Meeting House, Friargate.