Protesters man PCS union picket lines in city centre
DOZENS of public sector employees have set up pickets in the city centre as part of a national protest.
PCS union members in courts, Jobcentres and tax and benefit offices are today staging a 24-hour walkout.
Picketers lined the pavements outside Hanley Benefit Centre and HMRC Blackburn House from 6.45am this morning.
The walkout coincides with this afternoon's Budget announcement which is set to unveil a further £2.5 billion spending cuts across most Government departments.
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PCS leaders are calling on the Government to re-enter negotiations over pay, pensions and terms and conditions.
PCS North Staffordshire branch secretary Peter Rofe, leading the picket outside the Department of Working pensions in Albion Square, Hanley, said: "The averaged wage of a DWP worker is £18,000, that's not exactly gold plated is it?
"We are trying to reduce the impact of the strikes on public services today. I think people realise the real battle is with the government, not the PCS.
"They are asking us to work harder than ever to provide services to the public. But instead of rewarding us for that they are cutting our pay, raiding our pensions and ripping up our terms and conditions."