23 April 2012
The national executive has agreed that a programme of action is required across more than one public sector pension scheme to gain the leverage necessary to bring about genuine negotiations with the government on a fair settlement.
We are therefore proceeding to national co-ordinated action starting with a national day of action along with other public sector unions on 10 May, and a further day in June. The proposed programme of action includes joint national strike action with other unions, joint national, regional and local protests, lobbying of ministers, MPs and other politicians, and co-ordinated, targeted industrial action in some sectors.
The NEC agreed that it had been disappointing that action was not possible on 28 March. That would have been taken only with NUT members in London and UCU in colleges and universities. It would not have been the national co-ordinated strike action across pension schemes, as part of a programme of action, which we have agreed is necessary to win concessions and which members’ have voted for.
Since then we have been working hard to build a coalition prepared for that action and have now agreed a way forward with other unions.
Preparations for a public campaign – 68 is too late – linking changes to pension age with changes to public sector pension age are well advanced. The aim is for the campaign, being developed with Unite and the NUT, to be running when the government announces any legislative changes to pensions in the Queen’s Speech on 9 May.
PCS and other trade unions are campaigning for fair pensions for everyone – whether they are part of private or public sector schemes, or rely on the state pension. In the budget the government announced plans to introduce measures which will formally link the state pension age to increases in longevity. Current projections are that life expectancy will rise by 2.5 years every decade, meaning a child born today would only receive their state pension aged 74.
The campaign will highlight that we could keep public sector pensions, make private sector employers provide proper schemes, and return the state pension to its value of 30 years ago – 25% of average male earnings. It will include a website which will host a video explaining the issues, an e-action and links to social media. The website also enables us to email our own members directly, involving them in the activity and collecting the emails of supporters to continue to involve them in the campaign.
• Continue to use and share the pay and pensions calculator to show members how much they are losing – pcs.org.uk/pensions
• Identify members who can help out on strike day
• Encourage members to attend local rallies and meetings in support of the strike.
Urge members to email their MP to defend public sector pensions.