Report: DWP Pension Centre picket line, Swansea

18th March 2008

Roger Langley, DWP Branch Organiser for the Swansea Pension Centre gave the following angry but determined report to Swansea Socialist Party members:

"We're out again because the latest is that we forced management back round the table to talk because we'd rather be talking than out. But when we did get back round the table there was no further offer, it was just a smoke screen, but we were willing to talk and enter meaningful negotiations. But they've forced us into taking another 2 days of action on Monday which is the busiest day of the week and the Tuesday following.

What is really biting in the department is that the 30,00 job cuts that Gordon Brown previously announced has meant a huge extra workload for the staff remaining. So, with all the extra workload and then being told there's no pay increase for 25% of our staff this year because of this imposed three year pay deal, we had no option but to go on strike.

It is a very angry mood and on top of that we had the Welsh Assembly AM's announcement last week that they're getting an 8.3% pay increase which takes it above inflation! We're sayings lets have the right pay for the right job and as far as those A.M.'s are concerned, they should come and work in the department and see what we're on, including the AA's who are earning only 2p more than the minimum wage when it goes up! So, needless to say we're expecting good support today with over 85% on strike over today and tomorrow."

Roger reflected the mood and outlook of the 8 or so pickets who all shared this determination and confidence in the justness of their cause. The DWP strikers were boosted with the support of Gloria Tanner, former branch organiser and now PCS retired member who came along to give her solidarity and support from the National Pensioners Convention.

Alec Thraves
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