PCS union warns reference to public service reform in Queen’s speech must not signify job cuts

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has warned that public service reform outlined in the Queen’s speech  must not be code for privatisation and job losses.

The PCS is the largest civil service trade union, representing more than 250,000 workers.

On welfare reform, the union warned that job cuts in the Department for Work and Pensions had already led to deterioration in services. It also questioned the capacity and ability of the private and third sectors to deliver changes in welfare reform.

The union also warned that the commitment to continue cutting a third of Child Support Agency staff in the run up to the creation of the new organisation will only add to the backlogs and frustration the public is already experiencing.

On pensions, the union called for any future personal pension accounts system to be run by the public sector. The Pensions Bill said a “delivery authority” would be set up to oversee the personal accounts system.

The PCS criticised plans to push ahead with ID cards, pointing to recent high-profile government IT disasters when contracts were handed to the private sector. 

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “The restated commitment to public service reform in the Queen’s speech must not be code for unbridled privatisation and job losses.

“Already we are seeing the damage of job cuts and privatisation, with benefit waiting times up and massive IT failures.

“If the government is to fulfil its ambitions in implementing the Bills laid out today, then it has to recognise that it needs the staff with the resources to deliver publicly run public services.”

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