Barking job centre strikes

CIVIL SERVANTS offices across the country were apparently left with skeleton staff this week after employees began a 48 hour strike. Picket lines were due outside both Barking and Dagenham job centres during the walkout over redundancy pay in the biggest

CIVIL SERVANTS' offices across the country were apparently left with skeleton staff this week after employees began a 48 hour strike.

Picket lines were due outside both Barking and Dagenham job centres during the walkout over redundancy pay in the biggest unrest the sector has seen in 20 years.

However, when the POST photographer turned up, the only people outside the buildings were having a smoke.

Courts, ports, job and tax centres and emergency police call centres were affected by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) strike.


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Three driving test examiners were not at the test centre in Tanner Street, Barking, on Monday and several candidates were unable to take their practical driving test.

However the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) said their tests would be rebooked free of charge.

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And Walthamstow Coroner's Court was left with just one member of staff in the coroner's office - which could cause havoc for inquests scheduled this week.

PCS said members could lose a third of their redundancy pay over cuts under the civil service compensation scheme.

Organiser for job centres in London, Charlie McDonald, said: "From our initial reports it seems that the strikes are very well supported. Past all our expectations."

Under the new system, which takes effect in April and will save about �500m - those laid off and taking voluntary redundancy will have their pay-offs capped at �60,000.

Currently staff receive a month's pay for every year worked.

But the government said other civil service unions agreed the changes were fair and that those earning �30,000 or less - 80% of all staff - would still get up to between two and three years' salary.

The industrial action started on Monday March 8 and ends today (Wednesday 10).

A rally was held in central London yesterday (Tuesday), strikers marched from the Imperial War Museum to Westminster Cathedral Hall.

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