Thousands of Welsh civil servants are estimated to be taking part in industrial action today as a dispute over government cuts rumbled on.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) in Wales said more than 5,000 were to take part in strikes over jobs, pay and conditions
It follows action from PCS workers yesterday across England, affecting museums and galleries including The National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and Tate Modern in London and Tate Liverpool.
The union’s stoppages formed part of a three-month civil service-wide campaign which involves weeks of rolling industrial action among its 250,000 membership, since a national walkout on Budget day on March 20.
Today’s action saw workers from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) office in Swansea and other parts of the Department for Transport, Companies House in Cardiff and the Intellectual Property office in Newport.
Walkouts also affected the Land Registry office in Swansea, which it has been speculated could be privatised.
Another one-day strike is slated to take place next Thursday, June 6, which will affect PCS members in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs, with a further strike at National Museum Wales on Saturday, June 8.
PCS Wales Secretary, Shavanah Taj, said the action should send a “clear message” to ministers that they need to address the workers’ concerns.
“Our members have been forced to take further strike action by the persistent refusal of the UK government even to talk to us about issues like job cuts, declining real pay levels and threats to their terms and conditions,” she said.
“Civil servants work hard to deliver important services on which the public depends.
“They are fed up of being taken for granted and seeing their living standards and workplace rights undermined.”
A first wave of action took place yesterday, with museums and galleries primarily affected, with rooms closed and tours cancelled.
Staff in Government departments and agencies, including transport, business, education and energy and climate change also strike today, while employees at English Heritage sites, including Stonehenge, will take action on Sunday.
The PCS is also staging a protest in London today against the planned closure of tax advice offices.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “It is disappointing that yet again the PCS insist on pushing for futile action which benefits no-one and damages the services they deliver to the public.
“The Government took the tough decision to freeze public-sector pay for two years while protecting those earning under £21,000 by increasing their pay by at least £250 per year. Pay restraint has helped to protect jobs in the public sector and support high-quality public services.
“In March 2012 we set out our final proposed agreements on pension reform following more than a year of intensive discussions with trades unions.
“These reforms will ensure that public-sector pensions will remain among the very best available and that they can be sustained for future generations.”