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Ipswich PCS Protest.

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Photos from the well-attended Ipswich PCS Protests,there are  PCS and Ipswich Trades Council Banners.

We have been asked to publicise this excellent protest by the PCS in Ipswich against the Government’s attacks on the employment, jobs and the public service.

“On Friday 30th November Lunchtime demonstration/s in opposition to plans by the government to tear up all existing civil service terms and conditions, including hours and holidays, flexible and parental leave and other family-friendly policies.

The demo/s is/are part of a nationwide day of protest organised by the union at workplaces across the country.

In Ipswich PCS members will be gathering in Lower Brook street at 12.30 pm to call upon the Ipswich TUC to co-ordinate action to defend, jobs conditions and services in Ipswich in the year ahead. There will also be a further protest at St Clare House at 1pm

In a move that will hit parents and carers the hardest, the government has ordered a review of all terms and conditions with a view to cutting them back.

During the initial stage of this review deputy prime minister Nick Clegg made a speech saying the government wanted to extend flexible working rights. But the message ministers are sending to businesses is that family-friendly policies are a luxury, not a necessity in a modern economy.

It is pure hypocrisy to tell businesses they should extend flexible working while seeking to cut it back for your own staff.

The protest is also over the public sector pay freeze, cuts to pensions – including a further increase in monthly contributions planned for April – and the tens of thousands of civil service jobs either already cut or in the pipeline [official figures show 60,000 civil service jobs went in the two years of the coalition government].

The union has also announced that in December its national executive will consider a timetable for a fresh industrial action ballot in the new year, which will include the latest attack on working conditions, as well as pay, pensions and jobs.

Under the review – the details of which were leaked to the union last month – departments have had to produce a draft plan of what they want to cut and by when, with final plans due by the end of the year in time to be implemented from January 2013.

It is impossible to separate this from the Tory-led government’s wider political project to unpick the welfare state and drive down pay, conditions and employment rights across the economy, and we are determined to oppose it at every step.

After seeing tens of thousands of their colleagues thrown out of work, and having their pay and pensions cut, civil servants are now being forced to fight to defend everything they rely on to manage their working lives.

* For further information, interviews and comment please contact: Harvey Crane PCS Union, Revenue & Customs Anglia Branch Secretary – Tel 01473 235991, 07757 594401 and/or Email – Harvey.Crane@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

* PCS, the Public and Commercial Services Union is the union representing civil and public servants in central government. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, including 55,000 members in HMRC. It also represents workers in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK’s fifth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president Janice Godrich

* For further information on our Tax Justice Campaign and to download a copy of the Tax Justice report visit here.

This is their local response:

“The PCS Union in Ipswich thank the Ipswich TUC for their consistent support in our campaigns to defend Jobs, Conditions and Services.

In the New Year we face even further attacks from a Government that wants the deficit to be paid for by ordinary people while many rich people evade paying their share of tax.

The PCS wants the wealthy to pay their fair share of tax and for a change of direction that will help people in Ipswich and elsewhere. People can’t afford year after year to be on pay freezes or taking pay cuts.

We call upon Ipswich TUC to do all it can in the year ahead to support those unions who will be defending jobs, conditions and services locally.

We also request that you do all you can to unite and co-ordinate campaigns by different unions and campaigners to defend services for the people of Ipswich.

Harvey Crane Paul Nokes

PCS Chair PCS Secretary

Ipswich Town Committee Ipswich Town Committee


What Money Can’t Buy. Michael Sandel. A Socialist Review.

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What Money Can’t Buy. Michael Sandel. The Moral Limits of Markets.   Allen Lane. 2012.

Conservative MP, Ben Gummer (Ipswich), believes that owning a business should give you an extra vote in municipal elections. Local councillors too often “cannot read a balance sheet”. Towns and cities need to be run by those who can. Following the City of London there should be special electoral privileges given to companies and their owners. This would help councils face economic reality.

It’s hard not to be reminded of this when reading Michael Sandel’s new book. The philosopher notes that “Today, almost everything is up for sale”. In Santa Ana California you can by a “prison cell upgrade” to make your time in goal more comfortable. You can get into a top university by paying, passing ahead of those with better grades.

“Jumping the queue” with cash, for everything from airport immigration control, theatre tickets to medical care, is spreading like wildfire across the USA. These, and other aspects of “marketisation”, from corporations benefiting from ‘insuring’ their employees lives, to rampant advertising and ‘sponsorship’, are part of a world where “everything is up for sale”.

Sandel is less sure-footed about the UK. Here people have, despite the NHS, been able to pay to jump the queue for medical needs; public schools offer a way to buy an education that guarantees far superior access to Universities.

But there are signs that the process is not so different.

Conservative councils, like Barnet, propose offering better services and quicker access to those who can fork out cash. Companies and others have been able to purchase influence over Academy Schools. Now ‘free schools’ are a way for those with the money to get state support for their educational projects, including private firms and religious groups. Payment extends to lesser affairs. To urinate in a Council (though privately run) lavatory in Westminster costs 50 pence, leaving the really poor to piss in the streets.

Markets and Queues.

“Markets and queues – paying and waiting – are two different ways of allocating things…” Sandel writes. There is an “ethic of the queue” It is, ‘First come, first served’. It “ignores privilege, power and “deep pockets”. There is a deep resentment against anybody who refuses to wait her or his turn. It is, one might say, justice as fairness. Read the rest of this entry »