Up and down the country, Public Sector workers walked out on strike and Portsmouth was no exception.
Pickets started at Midnight last night as UNITE members at Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port kicked off today’s action.
Dave Hansford, Branch Organiser for HMRC Portsdown Vectis, PCS, told PSN, “We’ve had a pay freeze since 2010 while food bills and energy bills have risen. Due to changes in our pensions we are also paying more to that a month”
He added, the branch recently started holding food collections in their offices after finding out many of their lower paid members were using food banks.
“They [HMRC] usually put on our intranet that our strikes have been ineffective and have no support, but they haven’t done that this time. There is a real mood in the workplace. We had 100% out two weeks ago.”
A worker picketing Whale Island said, “If MPs are getting a pay rise, why the hell shouldn’t the rest of us?”
At Noon, workers from UNITE, UNISON, NUT, PCS and others converged on Guildhall and marched through Commercial road.
Over 350 people joined the march. After 2.5 years with little movement from the Unions, today was a welcome reminder of the power we have. Despite claims to the contrary, large sections of the public sector in Portsmouth came to a stand still and the strike does have public support.
Tomorrow we don’t just go back to work, but we go back in and build our branches, build confidence and prepare for bigger actions in the Autumn.