‘Something needs to change’: Civil servants join mass Budget Day strike in York
Civil servants joined the mass strike on Budget day today (Wednesday), holding a picket line outside a government building in York.
Members of the Prospect and Public And Commercial Services (PCS) unions walked out in their pay dispute.
They joined similar strike action by teachers, university lecturers, civil servants, junior doctors, London Underground drivers and BBC journalists.
Geoff Fletcher, secretary of the health and safety branch of Prospect, told YorkMix why they were taking the action.
“Our campaign is to fight for better pay because it’s been constrained for 12-13 years,” he said.
“We’ve lost about 26% of pay in that time. It’s been a slow burn. But it’s been accelerated by the cost of living crisis, the high levels of inflation that we’re experiencing.”
He said there was likely to be “job cuts across the board” and they were fighting to protect their members’ terms on redundancy.
Geoff said those on strike in York included people from the Health and Safety Executive Chemical Regulation Directorate – “the scientific staff who assess chemicals, give licences to use them and check that the impact on the environment and on people is minimised”.
Other strikers were from Natural England.
What was the mood like among his members? “They’re very angry,” Geoff said. “People feel pretty strongly about it and want to demonstrate that something needs to change.”
And it was having a major impact on people. “If you lose 26% of your salary over over 13 years, that’s going to have a detrimental impact.
“It also has a big impact upon how the services are run, because we can’t attract the qualified people, the professionals, the specialists, and you can’t retain them. So people are leaving in droves.
“And the people who were left behind have their workload increased, so it’s causing them stress as well.”