Nearly a million union members threaten strike


5:28 pm - May 18th 2011

by Newswire    


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More than a quarter of a million civil and public servants will ballot for a strike over cuts to pensions, jobs and pay, following an overwhelming vote at the Public and Commercial Services union annual conference today.

Ballot papers will be issued from next week and the ballot will close mid-June, with the first action possible later that month.

PCS union is working closely with education unions who are also balloting over pensions or have already voted and taken strike action, bringing the total to 750,000 union members.

The union wants: no detrimental changes to pensions or the civil service redundancy scheme; a strengthening of the Cabinet Office-agreed measures to avoid compulsory redundancies; and an end to the pay freeze and a fair pay rise for all.

The conference agreed to: hold a national ballot in defence of jobs, pensions and pay; and continue to work with other trade unions to co-ordinate action for maximum impact.

In a speech to delegates, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Everything we have ever worked for is under threat”

On pensions he said:

The government’s strategy on pay makes no economic sense. And George Osborne says public sector pensions are ‘unsustainable’ but the National Audit Office disagrees and Lord Hutton’s report showed the cost of public sector pensions is falling.

On strike action:

The government is trying to divide us – picking off different workers at different times. But if we vote for strike action we will be co-ordinating with unions representing another half a million public sector workers.

On wider campaigning and working with other organisations, including UK Uncut and community campaigners, he said:

For years our union has been at the forefront of the tax justice campaign, and we are proud to support UK Uncut that has popularised our message that the real fraudsters and the real scroungers are to be found in the boardrooms not in the jobcentres.

Like many I have been inspired by the student protests that erupted at the end of last year – hundreds of thousands of young people taking to the streets because they had been betrayed, again.

Their passion and their organisation surprised me and it also inspired me – because too often people have labelled young people as apolitical and apathetic.

He ended by saying:

We will need to be creative in our campaigning, tough in our bargaining, and prepared to take action. We will continue to work, and build links, with other trade unions to make our voice as powerful as possible in our campaigning and in any industrial action.

We can work together, campaign together and, yes, strike together – and together we can win.

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Reader comments


Solidarity and everything if the PCS does go on strike, but ‘more than a quarter of a million’ = ‘nearly a million’? How do the numbers add up? I’m confused.

It includes the number of the education unions, which adds up to arouns 750,000 as said later

Brilliant. I can’t think of a better way for the Public Sector to lose the goodwill of the wealth-generators once and for all. Inconveniencing everyone else isn’t going to help the cause one bit!

@Sunny: Oh yes, I see. Reading comprehension fail.

5. Mr S. Pill

@3

So public sector workers should just stand by idly while this government completely fucks over their contracts? Piss off. The right to strike is a hard-fought right. If the government doesn’t like public sector strikes then it should stop blaming them for a private sector crisis.

6. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 Stuart

“Inconveniencing everyone else isn’t going to help the cause one bit!”

True. Striking has never been effective. That’s why we don’t have any trade unions anymore…

Sheesh. Anyone who says that striking doesn’t work because it annoys people is missing a fairly big point about what strike action is meant to do. The whole point of striking is to demonstrate your value.

7. paul barker

This will have The Ruling Class quaking in their boots. All together now “What do we want ? General Strike ! ……

Keep it up Labourites.

@3
“Brilliant. I can’t think of a better way for the Public Sector to lose the goodwill of the wealth-generators once and for all. Inconveniencing everyone else isn’t going to help the cause one bit”

That’s right, you view this through the prism of the self. This isn’t about YOU.

9. Dick the Prick

Will anyone notice apart from trains?

10. Mr S. Pill

@9

I rather suspect that if the teachers end up striking then yes, it will be quite noticeable.

11. Dick the Prick

@10 – yup, mae culpa – forgot about them. Although they seem to be on the verge of striking for quite a few personal reasons anyway. All good fun.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  5. WGLloyd

    Nearly a million union members threaten to strike http://bit.ly/m9pbef #june30 #ukrevolution

  6. sunny hundal

    Nearly a million union members threaten strike action, as PCS union gen-sec praises @UKuncut and others http://bit.ly/m9pbef

  7. Tom Serpell

    Nearly a million union members threaten strike action, as PCS union gen-sec praises @UKuncut and others http://bit.ly/m9pbef

  8. Bob G

    Nearly a million union members threaten strike action, as PCS union gen-sec praises @UKuncut and others http://bit.ly/m9pbef

  9. Brooke Jarvis

    In UK, unions balloting for strike and supporting @ukuncut's quest for #taxjustice: http://j.mp/k6S67D

  10. Hazel Midgley

    RT @brookejarvis: In UK, unions balloting for strike and supporting @ukuncut's quest for #taxjustice: http://j.mp/k6S67D

  11. Norman Nicholson

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  12. Jeff

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  13. Mark Manning

    RT @sunny_hundal Nearly a million union members threaten strike action http://bit.ly/m9pbef || UK

  14. Andy S

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  15. criticalpraxis

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  16. Toffee TechNoir

    Nearly a million union members threaten strike action, as PCS union gen-sec praises @UKuncut and others http://bit.ly/m9pbef





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