2 July 2012
Delegates at the PCS annual conference in Brighton in May voted in favour of further joint-union national strike action against cuts to pensions, pay and jobs. The move follows the walkout on 10 May by members of PCS, Unite, NIPSA, RMT, UCU and the POA. 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 is holding co-ordinated industrial action in employer groups, and other protests and political campaigns. Thousands of members are already taking action in defence of jobs and against privatisation in the Department for Transport, in Revenue and Customs to defend jobs and services and members in the Department for Work and Pensions on Merseyside held a three-day strike in defence of staffing levels and the service to the public. The Home Office group has been balloting members over action in response to attacks on jobs, pay, terms and conditions and the ongoing threat of privatisation.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "With unemployment high and our communities suffering as a result of the government's cuts, ministers should be providing all the help they can to local economies that are crying out for support and investment.
"Instead they are ploughing on with entirely unnecessary and unpopular cuts to vital services. These strikes across the whole range of services form a major part of our ongoing fight against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay. We are already the generation whose kids will be worse off than their parents. The slogan ‘No cuts’ has to be at the heart of what we argue for because cuts make the situation worse.”
Reps and activists are urged to build support for a massive demo against austerity on 20 October, organised by the TUC, and further co-ordinated strike action by hundreds of thousands of public sector workers in the autumn.
PCS is committed to pressing 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. The union will continue to build the joint union campaign – ‘68 is too late’ – in opposition to increases in the state pension age. Reps are also urged 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.
Campaigning against the pay ongoing freeze and the government’s attempts to introduce regional pay rates in the public sector is another priority. Public sector pay has already been frozen for two years, and will be capped at 1% for at least two more years.
Any move to introduce regional pay for public sector workers would be resisted by PCS as it would drive down wages and further depress local economies that desperately need investment. Ministers should be looking to increase pay – to decent levels – and living standards of everyone, to put money in people's pockets to help our economy to grow.