Public sector workers strike again

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The Independent Online

Fresh strike action will be taken by public sector workers in November in the long-running dispute over pensions, it was announced today.

Leaders of the Public and Commercial Services union have agreed to call a strike in November following a 24-hour walkout by civil servants and teachers in June.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said he believed millions of public sector workers will take part in industrial action in November.

A meeting of union leaders will be held after next week's TUC Congress to finalise details of the action, said Mr Serwotka.

No date has been fixed for the strike, but Mr Serwotka said it was likely to be in mid or the end of November.

The Government's pre-budget report is being announced on November 29.

A number of other unions are threatening industrial action, including those representing firefighters, teachers and other civil servants.

"We are moving towards a strike potentially involving millions," Mr Serwotka told a press conference.

Another meeting will be held later today between unions and Government ministers over planned reforms to public sector pensions, but Mr Serwotka said previous talks had been a "farce".

"We are supposed to be in negotiations but to negotiate you should be prepared to compromise.

"On plans to make people work longer, pay more and receive less they have not moved one jot."

The PCS executive has agreed to hold another strike, but Mr Serwotka said that more targeted action was also likely.

PCS members issuing passports and driving licences could have a big impact, he warned.

More than 10 unions could be involved in strikes in November, with industrial action continuing into 2012 if the dispute is not resolved, said Mr Serwotka.

He also attacked the stance taken by Labour leader Ed Miliband during the last strike as "appalling" and said he expected more support in the future.

"If we don't make a stand now, the public will suffer from closures and cuts to public services."

Unite said it will push for emergency action on the economy and the defence of workers' rights at next week's TUC Congress.

General secretary Len McCluskey said: "Not content with knee-capping the economy, the coalition is also mounting a sinister assault on workers' rights. It is high time that a UK government supported workers over big business, because failure to do so has brought this country nothing but harm.

"Equally, we need to stop the vandalism of our economy. This country did not vote for joblessness, nor for the destruction of our services. No to ideological cuts and yes to a fairer, better Britain will be the message government must heed."