Unions set to strike in fresh cuts protest

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CIVIL servants in Luton are to go on strike later this month after a ballot saw members vote in favour of industrial action.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union agreed to a one day walkout on June 30 in protest against public spending cuts and changes to workers’ pension arrangements.

Geoff Webb, branch secretary of the Lea Valley Branch of the PCS, told the H&P before the results of the ballot were announced: “I can say pretty certainly judging by the people that we’ve spoken to that it will be an overwhelming yes in favour of it.”

The yes vote will see PCS members, which includes workers at Luton’s tax office, Department of Work and Pensions staff at the JobCentre Plus, UK Border Agency employees at Luton Airport and staff at a small sub section of the passport office downing tools for one day.

The strike will coincide with similar industrial action voted for by teaching staff from the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

Mr Webb said: “The effects of the one day strike will inconvenience people. We apologise to the public for that but we’ve been driven to this point.

“The long term effects of what is being done to the public sector is that in a couple of years time it will be unrecognisable.

“The action is not just for the workers’ but to protect public services.

“I think we’re heading up to a more concerted and widespread effort to carry out industrial action and make our voices heard.

Should strike action go ahead, local PCS members will gather on Market Hill at noon on June 30 before marching to the steps of the Town Hall for 12.30pm.

They will then head to Wardown Park for a family protest picnic.