Public servants stage marches in bid to protect rights
PUBLIC sector workers used their lunch break to march in protest at Government plans to cut the benefits of their jobs.
Across the South West members of the Public and Commercial Services Union protested outside their workplaces over Government plans to change their working conditions.
In Derriford about 50 union members, including staff from the Land Registry, marched to Crownhill Fort to register their opposition.
Mary Graves from the Skills Funding Agency, who joined them, said: "Once you have entered into a contract with somebody – as we have with our conditions of employment – it should be legally binding.
"To change it without consultation is illegal."
Dave Franklin, branch chair at the Land Registry, said: "There have been no negotiations with trades unions on these proposals."
He said the changes were due to commence for new starters in the new year, and for existing staff from 2015.
Among the changes will be cuts to sick pay, and "privilege day" holidays – like the Queen's Birthday – will be scrapped.
"The PCS is totally opposed to yet another attack on our members," he said. "We have already suffered at least two years of pay freezes, increased pension contribution and worse pension benefits.
"These attacks are all justified on the basis of the economic crisis, yet none of our members caused this crisis, but we are being unjustifiably singled out to pay for it."
Mr Franklin added: "The protests are not industrial action – they were in members' own time, and were not intended to disrupt the smooth running of departments, nor to inconvenience the public."
Crownhill Fort, which is owned and run by the Landmark Trust, was not connected with the protest.