New strike threat over pensions

 

The biggest civil service union today threatened another strike in protest at the Government's controversial pension reforms amid claims that the coalition "unleashed hell" against workers and communities through its spending cuts.

The Public and Commercial Services union agreed to build towards fresh walkouts at the end of next month with as many unions as possible unless talks over the pension changes are reopened.

Delegates at the PCS's annual conference in Brighton also vowed to campaign against legislation which will enable the pension reforms to take place.

General secretary Mark Serwotka said workers faced "unprecedented" challenges, adding: "What the Government is doing is unleashing hell on members, their communities and vulnerable families.

"This is a Government of millionaires, of incompetence, which is ruling on behalf of a tiny elite, without a mandate."

Mr Serwotka said unions were now the real opposition to the Government, attacking Labour for going along with many of the coalition's cuts.

Some delegates argued that the PCS should go it alone with further walkouts if other unions decided against taking further action.

But Mr Serwotka said PCS members had voted to take industrial action alongside other unions, so some would feel demoralised if that did not happen.

"Let us hope we have a massive strike in June, but it needs to be with other unions."

The union has already taken part in three days of national strikes over pensions and is planning further action in some Government departments, including transport.

Mr Serwotka told the 1,000 delegates that Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude was refusing to reopen talks, describing him as the "Minister for Chaos" following the row over petrol supplies when tanker drivers threatened to strike.

Thousands of PCS members in the Department for Transport are set to take industrial action soon in a row over job cuts and privatisation, hitting driving tests and issuing of licences.

The union is also balloting its members in HM Revenue and Customs for strikes over similar issues.

Mr Serwotka said it was clear from today's conference discussion that PCS members wanted to continue fighting the Government's pension changes, which would still mean that public servants would work longer, pay more into their pensions and receive less in retirement.

"There was complete unity that we are right to fight on, and the stakes are massive."

He said he will now contact the unions which took part in the strike on May 10 to discuss the prospect of another walkout in June.

Teaching unions will not join any action next month, but Mr Serwotka said the campaign will continue into the autumn, echoing warnings from Unite leader Len McCluskey that strikes could be held into next year.

"Action will ebb and flow, but the common link is opposition to the effects of the austerity cuts, and the potential for other unions to rejoin the fight.

"There were representatives from a number of Government departments here and no-one wants to give up, which I think is significant.

"We have not had any move from the Government on the three questions of retiring later, increased pension contributions and receiving less, and the worry is that things will get worse."

Mr Maude said: "Once again I am disappointed that the PCS insists on pushing for futile strike action which benefits no-one, and I would urge them to reconsider their position.

"As we have said time and again, pension talks will not be reopened and nothing further will be achieved through strike action.

"In March we set out our final proposed agreements on pension reform following more than a year of intensive discussions with trades unions.

"Our reforms ensure that public sector pensions will remain among the very best available and that they can be sustained for the future.

"Public sector workers are being asked to work a bit longer and pay a bit more, but they will continue to get a guaranteed pension which is index-linked and inflation-proofed.

"Most staff on low and middle incomes will receive a pension at retirement as good as what they expect today, and for many it will be even better."

PA

Suggested Topics
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?