LIVE AT PCS – We can win if we stand together, says union leader

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By John Millington
In Brighton

THE PCS union has called for a further round of strike action alongside other unions in June in a bid to defeat the government’s public sector pension assault.

Delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour to join up with other public sector unions to take coordinated action next month.

The hotly debated motion saw members from all over the union agree on the need to take industrial action but differ over specific tactics on how to win the dispute.

Moving the motion on behalf of the executive committee, general secretary Mark Serwotka told delegates that the union should seek talks with RMT, UCU and Northern Irish public sector union Nipsa for a coordinated strike in June.

But he warned: “We’re clear on the NEC, the reality of public sector pensions, we won’t win by taking action alone.”

“To go alone would be an amazingly high risk strategy.”

Mr Serwotka also heaped praise on Prison officers who walked out in defiance of the anti trade union laws before lambasting “deep seated fatalism” over the pensions within the TUC leadership.

November 30th [strike] was one of the greatest days in the trade union movement in recent times.”

29 unions and over 2 million workers out. It represented the high tide in the trade union movement.

‘If N30 represented the high tide, what happened less than 3 weeks later at the TUC was a deep seated fatalism that infects the trade union and labour movement led to a situation after we had a magnificent strike, union leader after union leader said they would accept working longer paying more and getting less.”

“If something is bad enough to go on strike for on N30 it is not good enough to accept a rotten deal on December 19th.”

In a rallying call to activists, he added: “We are the official opposition to what the government is doing and we need to build that opposition to defeat their austerity programme.”

“What the government is actually doing is unleashing hell on members their communities and some of the most vulnerable people in Britain.”

Other delegates agreed with Mr Serwotka.

Glasgow benefit office worker Cat Boyd insisted that one civil union can’t fight the pension reforms alone.

‘We are seeing the waves of neo-liberalism and an ideological attack on ordinary people,’ she said.

“If we take action alone we will be like one person throwing stones at the sea.”

The PCS’s campaign to bring unions together received a boost with the news that the Britain’s 3rd largest union GMB, had rejected the pension changes.


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