Welsh Assembly

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Thursday, 5 August 2010

[Published online at www.thefreshoutlook.com]

Trade Unions prepare to protest against Tory plans to cut jobs.

by Katie Murdoch

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has called for a “day of action” on 20 October. The civil service union plans are a response to David Cameron's government's intentions to cut public spending in the Comprehensive Spending Review, to be revealed in October.

The union is also urging Trades Union Congress (TUC), a federation of national trade unions in the UK, to organise a similar protest on 23 October. The TUC plans to discuss the protests at its conference in Manchester in September. David Cameron rejected an invitation by the federation to address the conference.

PCS also plans to hold another demonstration on 3 October, outside the Conservative Party Conference.

The Fresh Outlook interviewed Richard Simcox, Press Officer from PCS. He told us:

“With these protests, we want to build alliances with other unions who can hopefully make our voice stronger in opposition to the government plans to cut jobs. The protests will be a way of pressurising the government to rethink such huge cuts in employment, and will be a visual representation of our opposition to the spending review.

“From the Comprehensive Spending Review, we can expect anywhere between a 25 to 40 percent cut in jobs. We feel that by doing this, David Cameron's government are, in effect, punishing the public for the wrongdoings by bankers, etcetera, in the financial crisis.”

The PCS union does not accept the need for public jobs cuts. We believe there are alternative ways to help recover the economy, and causing detriment to the public by making thousands of people redundant is not satisfactory.”

Bob Crow, the general secretary of the RMT rail union, warned that he would lead a walk out when Mr Cameron spoke.

The RMT has tabled a motion at the TUC conference urging "co-ordinated strike action and national demonstrations" against the government's cuts.

Mr Crow said: "The TUC has to be the launch pad for the fight back against the coalition government's decision to launch an all-out class warfare through their unprecedented attack on our communities, public services, welfare state and transport system".

Rob Holdsworth, Press Officer at TUC, spoke to The Fresh Outlook about the protest plans.

He said: “The plan of action for the TUC regarding the protest will be decided through a motion at the conference in September. PCS have put forward the motion to organise a union-wide protest. At the conference, members will have the opportunity to engage in a wide debate on the motion, and can also make amendments if they wish to.

“The TUC has consistently opposed the public spending cuts by the Tory government as it believes such harsh cuts so soon have the potential to derail the already fragile economy. There is likely to be some form of protest towards the Comprehensive Spending Review, but exactly how it will be organised and what form it will take will be decided at the upcoming conference.”

The announcements from unions to conduct protests come as the government's freeze on what they call "non-essential advertising" drastically cuts the amount of work the Central Office of Information department receives, resulting in a job loss of 287 from a workforce of 737.
The COI turnover on advertising and marketing was down around 52 percent in June this year compared to the same period in 2009. David Cameron's government has made it clear that this reduction in spending is more than likely to continue.

Chief executive Mark Lund said: "COI has always adapted to meet the requirements of government and the changing media landscape. A leaner COI is in line with new government priorities.

"Our future will be grounded in continuing to deliver excellent communications to achieve government aims, in the most cost efficient and effective way possible."

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