23 April 2012
At a special meeting in April the national executive unanimously agreed to call the strike as part of a programme of action including a further national strike at the end of June.
Members gave a very clear mandate for further action through the consultative ballot. The result was the highest ever vote for action – 72.1% – in the history of PCS. There was also an overwhelming rejection by members – 90.5% – of the government’s fourth ‘final offer’ on pensions.
Since March we have successfully worked to build a coalition of unions ready to take the action needed to put real pressure on the government. Workers across the civil service, the health service and education are preparing to join the 10 May walkout. This will be a day after the Queen’s Speech which introduces new pensions legislation.
In the civil service Unite is currently balloting and expects a positive result and to call action on 10 May. Nipsa in Northern Ireland has confirmed its members are prepared to strike on that date. In the NHS up to 100,000 Unite members will be staying away from work. The University and College Union is also expected to call action while RMT members in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary would also be on strike. We will look to organise strike day activities in each region with other unions.
Co-ordinated industrial action in PCS groups may also take place in the coming period including action in the Department for Transport over threatened office closures and job losses. There will also be action short of a strike including an overtime ban from 11 May until the end of June.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We believe that a strategy to win a fair settlement to the dispute must involve a programme of action involving joint national strike action with other unions across more than one pension scheme.
“The best way to force ministers to get around the negotiating table is if they understand that in a few short weeks hundreds of thousands of us will still be campaigning and working for joint union strike action.”
In addition, the National Union of Teachers has backed plans proposed at its annual conference over Easter to escalate its campaign on pension cuts. The Police Federation is also planning a national march through central London on 10 May over cuts in pay and pensions. This will add to the media profile of the day and to the pressure on the government over public sector cuts.
Taking the fight to ministers
Reps have already shown their determination to take the campaign against the cuts to the door of cabinet ministers’ local offices, with high-profile figures such as deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and justice secretary Kenneth Clarke targeted in constituency demonstrations. They have also been active in organising pension letter protest events to coincide with public sector workers receiving letters from the government outlining the implementation of changes at the start of April. Many people have sent back letters with handwritten notes rejecting the changes