Civil servants strike will now hit benefits

Griffin House, Bryn
Griffin House, Bryn

HUNDREDS of civil servants across Wigan helped deliver a “fair pay now” warning to Government.

The 24-hour strike by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union across the borough had national ramifications because the action disrupted work at the giant Griffin House Department for Work and Pensions centre which authorises benefit payments for the north of England.

More than 500 members at the South Lancs Industrial Estate centre in Bryn took strike action in an escalation of their rumbling wages battle.

Job Centres across the area were also hit by the a protest, timed to be co-ordinated with health workers to deliver three consecutive days of industrial unrest.

Wigan PCS spokesman Steve Finch said that the action by the union’s Wigan branch was only taken as a “last resort”.

But the Government had introduced a two-year pay freeze in 2010 and in recent years has imposed a one per cent pay cap for all public sector workers which civil servants could no longer afford to tolerate. The union is calling for a pay rise of £1,200 ... or five per cent for all civil service and related staff.

Mr Finch said: “The Coalition Government praise public servants for their hard work and dedication but at the same time they are slashing their living standards. Instead of warm words, public sector workers need a pay rise.

The Cabinet Office said the strike “lacked authority” because the PCS’s mandate for action was a year old.