Thursday, 24 May 2012

PCS conference: vote for more joint action against cuts

From PCS press release dated 23rd May 2012

Delegates at PCS's annual conference this morning voted in favour of further joint-union national strike action at the end of June against cuts to pensions, pay and jobs.

The move follows the walkout on 10 May by members of PCS, Unite, Nipsa, the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, University and College Union, and the Prison Officers' Association.

While the focus in the last year has been on pensions, delegates agreed to step up opposition to job cuts and the public sector pay freeze.

As well as organising joint national strikes, the union will hold co-ordinated targeted industrial action in employer groups and sectors, and other protests and political campaigns.

The conference noted that unions representing the majority of staff in the civil service, health and education have now refused the government's latest 'final offer' on pensions and agreed to:

Press the Trades Union Congress for closer co-ordination of unions on campaigning and industrial action, and to demand that the government negotiates on the core pensions issues of paying more and working longer for less in retirement.

To continue to build a new joint union campaign, called '68 is too late', in opposition to increases in the state pension age.

To fully support the TUC demonstration against austerity planned for the autumn

To fully support community campaigns, protests and peaceful civil disobedience against the cuts by groups such as UK Uncut, Occupy, welfare campaigners and those campaigning against the inequality of cuts.

In a national consultation ballot of PCS members which ended on 16 March, 90.5% of respondents rejected the proposals for a new pension scheme and, in the largest vote for action in any national ballot the union has held, 72.1% said they supported further industrial action alongside other unions.

Speaking after the vote PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "We continue to oppose the government's plans to force public servants to pay more and work longer for a worse pension, and will work with other unions on a rolling programme of co-ordinated industrial action.

"Despite ministers' wild claims late last year, unions representing the majority of workers in the civil service, health and education have now rejected the government's crude and unnecessary attempt to make them pay off debts racked up by the greed and recklessness of wealthy bankers.

"We have again called on the government to return to the talks with a genuine will to negotiate on the core pensions issues, but we will continue to build the widest possible alliance against these cuts if it refuses to do so."

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