Public services workers strike in Norwich
Shaun LowthorpeThousands of public sector workers across Norfolk went on strike yesterday as part of a two day protest at plans to change their redundancy terms and conditions.Shaun Lowthorpe
Thousands of public sector workers across Norfolk went on strike yesterday as part of a two day protest at plans to change their redundancy terms and conditions.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) from a range of government offices including the Department for Work and Pensions, and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) were involved in the 48-hour action.
In Norwich the union said around 50 people took part in rally outside the Forum, where speakers included Green parliamentary candidate Adrian Ramsay. Representatives from other unions including Unison, the FBU, and students also turned up to show their support.
Pickets were also set up outside government buildings including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at Baltic House, the HMRC office in Prince of Wales Road, and government offices in Thorpe St Andrew. Offices in Great Yarmouth and Dereham were also affected.
Julie Bremner, chairwoman of the PWS regional committee, said around 5,000 Norfolk based staff -around a third of the total - took part in the strike action.
'It went reasonably well we have been genuinely surprised by the support,' she said. 'People are protecting their current terms and conditions because they are concerned that if they don't it will make it a lot easier to get rid of us.
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But the government insisted it was business as usual and the courts in Norwich were not affected by the strike, while all Jobcentres Plus offices remained open.
The union is protesting over changes to the civil service compensation scheme which it says will "rob' civil servants of up to a third of their entitlements - worth thousands of pounds - when they leave their jobs.