David Cameron's sinister reply was that they were looking at the need for "efficiencies" or words to that effect. At the time of writing there is no news of the overall turnout provided by either PCS or Management. That argument will begin later no doubt.
Meanwhile the Socialist Worker newspaper has published an absurd on-line claim that 250,000 PCS members are on strike today. This kind of overt politically motivated distortion does not help anyone, particularly the members involved themselves.
The Chancellor has already announced two things of concern for civil servants by (a) implementing a further cut of 1% to all Government departments and (b) has extended the current "pay restrictions" for a further year. The only plank of the PCS strike that had any relevance to members was fighting this. PCS has put in for a 5% pay rise, nice if we could get it, but clearly isn't going to happen.
There is further bad news for the Socialist Party led PCS. About 60% of workers in the NHS have been given a 1% pay rise which although condemned by both Unison & Unite unions have not committed themselves to any action over this. In fact Unite has announced that it will campaign for a higher pay rise in 2014.
Teaching unions have limited plans for rolling action across their sector but these are not expected until later in the year. This has prompted the usual response from the "comrades" who always manage to find someone who is "angry" about this. However having seen the people who were quoted in the Socialist Worker report on today's PCS strike, they are all err.. Socialist Worker Party or Socialist Party members like Anna Owens, Derek Thompson and Fidel McLean.
It's good to talk...to yourselves.
Prospects of widening the dispute are now negligible.
UPDATE: The Government has now published its' figures on the number of staff out on strike today. Speaking to the BBC, Francis Maude claims that around 95,000 took part in industrial action, which represents a little over one third of PCS membership.
As of 5pm this afternoon PCS had not actually published any claims on turnout, though reports from individual offices have made high claims. The fact is that as usual turnouts will vary from office to office and in different parts of the country.
As expected the Socialist Party have made use of the strike to promote their cause. In Bristol John McInally (PCS Vice President) and Tom Baldwin, both members of the Socialist Party called for workers to have their own party against austerity by which they mean themselves of course.
Not to be left out Lee Vernon another member of the Socialist Party made the inevitable call for a General Strike at the rally outside Parliament. Apparently Candy Udwin of the now infamous Socialist Workers Party's Disciplinary Committee also made an appearance telling us to build
Meanwhile a further half-day strike has already been set for Friday April 5th starting at 1pm. Disturbingly the PCS DWP group sent round a note to PCS Reps saying they had written to Management asking for them to outline the effect this will have on members. Surely they should have investigated any problems before calling the strike. Go figure.