Civil servants protest over government cuts in Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH civil servants braved the bitter cold to protest against government cuts.

Civil service employees met outside Portsmouth’s historic dockyard to raise awareness of the impact cuts are having on local workers.

PROTEST Sion Reynoulds, Alan Dennis, Geoff Lange and Simon Magorian outside the naval base   ''''''''       Picture: Allan Hutchings (13944-267)

PROTEST Sion Reynoulds, Alan Dennis, Geoff Lange and Simon Magorian outside the naval base '''''''' Picture: Allan Hutchings (13944-267)

‘I am tired of our jobs and rights being eroded,’ said Janet Niemand, a secretary for naval personnel and family services.

‘Morale is low, we work hard and don’t deserve to be treated like this.’

Janet McGinley, an administration support worker for naval personnel and family services, agreed.

‘Everything I joined for is being eroded,’ she said.

‘It used to be a job for life but now it isn’t.’

Protesters took turns to picket, before returning to work to make sure their departments were still staffed and able to operate.

‘They’ve let too many people go,’ said Geoff Lange, Portsmouth branch secretary for Trade Union PCS.

‘A lot of people are doing more than they are resourced to do, too much is being asked of current workers.’

Portsmouth Against Cuts Together Committee Member Simon Magorian said: ‘It is important to support everyone who is fighting for their livelihoods. Cuts are manifestly not working – they are punishing the poor.’

PCS is calling for a pay increase of five per cent for all public and commercial services workers instead of the one per cent cap imposed by the government.

‘We estimate there is a £7bn cost to the economy from the pay freeze and one percent pay cap,’ said Alan Dennis, Portsmouth area group chairman for PCS.

The protests are part of a three-month period of strike activity against government cuts. ‘A good employer would sit down and talk with their staff,’ added Mr Dennis.

‘There will be more action if there aren’t discussions.’

‘We don’t believe our members should pay for a crisis they did not create.’