Several thousands workers in the Identity and Passport Service took a day of strike action on 12 October over their employer's refusal to settle last year's pay claim. Following strike action last November, the employer was supposed to settle by 1 August but has refused to do so.
The strike was well-supported at the seven IPS offices across the country. At the Victoria office, where 700 of the IPS's 3,300 employees work, only about thirty went in - and there were probably that many on the picket line.
The dispute has to be seen in the context of the civil service's crazy pay bargaining system, with no less than 172 different bargaining units in different departments and agencies. Until now the Socialist Party-led PCS executive has done very little to push the campaign for national pay forward, but there is likely to be more widespread strike action in a number of different bargaining units in January. The solid turn out in the IPS shows that PCS members are up for that fight.