The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) responded to the budget as up to 200, 000 civil and public servants from across the UK stayed away from work in a strongly supported budget day strike over cuts to redundancy pay.
Responding to the budget, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “Today’s budget of so called efficiency savings, makes it clear that the reason the government is ripping up the contracts of loyal civil servants is to make it easier and cheaper for whoever wins the election to cut them. It is ludicrous to think that efficiency savings can be somehow pulled out from down the back of the sofa and have no effect on services. Those on strike today know that efficiency savings are cuts which will damage frontline service delivery. The strong support for today’s budget day strike demonstrates that civil and public servants are willing to stand up for the services they are proud to deliver.”
On pay, he commented: “Holding down the pay of low paid public servants will result in real term pay cuts for the people who keep this country running. They shouldn’t be made to pay for a financial crisis not of their making. Pay cuts in real terms will take money out of the economy and potentially undermine the recovery.”
On the relocation of civil servants, he said: “The government needs to recognise that they can’t force civil servants out of a job if they unable to relocate. Relocation needs to be done with the consent of the workforce, not forced through and with proper equality impact assessments carried out. As the experience of the relocation of the Office for National Statistics shows, relocations need to be based on a sound business plan and recognise the impact on the diverse nature of the civil service in London.”
On asset sales, he said: “It is scandalous that the government is scrabbling around like an episode of ’cash in the attic’ and selling off the family silver to pay for the failures of the City.”
On tax evasion he added: “The government wants to appear to be tough on tax evasion, but when it comes to the causes it falls short. If it was serious about clamping down on the £130 billion worth of tax that goes uncollected, avoided or evaded, then the Chancellor would have signalled his intent to put extra resources into revenue and customs. Cutting 25, 000 tax jobs and closing 200 tax offices will do nothing to close the tax gap and tackle the