Civil servants begin strike

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Thousands of civil servants are expected to join a one-day strike today over job cuts, pay and privatisation.

Driving test and job centres are among the services likely to be affected by today's May Day civil servants walk-out, held two days before local elections are carried out across the country.

Called by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the strike follows a one-day walk-out in January which was timed to hit the deadline for self assessment tax returns.

The union is calling for a no compulsory redundancies guarantee, changes to working conditions and pay along with agreements to protect workforces in outsourcing.

"The heart of our public services is being ripped out as services suffer in the race to slash jobs," Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, commented.

"PCS has and continues to stand ready to negotiate. The government and civil service management need to recognise that this isn’t a problem that will go away and need to start negotiating with the union to resolve the dispute."

However the government has responded to the action by stating that there is "absolutely no need" for the workforce to go on strike but warned that no industry could definitely avoid outsourcing.

"At a time when the government is increasing investment in public services, no organisation, including the civil service, can be immune from the need for change, both to ensure value for money and to adapt to new technology," a Cabinet office spokesperson said.

"There is an established process through which unions can raise any issues of concern they have with these changes without going on strike."

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