Nick Parker
Nick Parker
Nick Parker, PCS DWP Lincolnshire & Rutland branch secretary, attended the one-day strike (Photo: Asmund Lovdal)

Civil servants went on strike outside a Lincoln job centre as well as other locations across the county yesterday, as part of a national campaign by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for fairer pay in the public sector.

Called “Britain Needs A Pay Rise”, the campaign highlights the fact that, due to year-on-year rises in inflation, the one per cent pay rise limit for civil servants, effective since 2010, has meant a real-terms pay cut over the last five years.

“What we’re saying is that we can’t afford not to go on strike, because we really need a pay rise,” said branch secretary for PCS DWP Lincolnshire & Rutland, Nick Parker. “It’s not just this year that we’ve experienced this pay policy, we’ve been experiencing this for seven years.

“We’ve been involved in negotiations since April with DWP’s senior civil servants, asking them to give us a pay rise of five per cent or £1,200 a year, whichever is the greatest – but the DWP’s senior civil servants are bound by the Treasury remit that George Osborne’s positioned; that no public sector worker’s going to get more than one per cent.

“Pension contributions have also gone up by about two and a half to three per cent over the last three years, and of course when the RPI [retail prices index] rate of inflation is 2.3%, that masks the fact that some of the basic necessities, like food, gas, electricity, fuel, and so on, have been going up by far more.

Lincoln trade unionists will also be going down to London en masse on Saturday to take part in the campaign’s national demonstration. Coaches have been hired to leave Lincoln station at 6:30am in time for the start of the day’s protest.

Nick told The Linc: “We’re going to be taking to the streets and getting our message out in our hundreds of thousands: that we all need a pay rise and we’re not just going to sit around and let the government attack our living standards.”

He added that people shouldn’t be expecting any change to come immediately from this week of action: “I don’t think that the government is going to back down on the basis of a one-day strike by civil servants.

“The TUC, the federation of trade unions in Britain, has 6.5 million members – if we had a one-day national strike by all people, across the public and private sector, that would bring the government back to the negotiating table.”

Kelly Pyart contributed to this report.