Civil servants to stage new strike

PCSStaff in the Department for Education will stage a fresh strike in a dispute over jobs and office closures.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), who have already taken industrial action, will walk out for two hours from 3pm.
The union said staff had been told that half of the Department for Education's (DfE) 12 offices in England would be shut, putting around 500 jobs at risk.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Ministers are ignoring all reasoned argument and pressing ahead with cuts and closures that are clearly purely political.
"As it slashes half of its budget and plans to cut a quarter of staff, the DfE is yet to say what it will not do in future and we fear vital public services, such as ensuring children are safe at school and supporting special educational needs, will be put at risk."

The PCS accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of using his department as an "ideological test bed" for wider civil service cuts.

A DfE spokesman said: "We want this country to have the best education system and the best children's services. To achieve this, we must create a department that delivers an excellent service to the public, while ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.

"In November, we announced we would close six of our 12 sites over the next five years as part of the department's ongoing commitment to reduce costs and secure value for money for the taxpayer.

"We have held extensive discussions with the PCS. Any strike action is completely out of step with the vast majority of hard working, professional civil servants at the DfE."

PCS members are involved in a three month-long campaign of industrial action and protests across the civil service over cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions.
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