Threat of action over civil service 'butchering'

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Tony Blair was threatened with co-ordinated industrial action from public-sector unions over pensions and job cuts yesterday after plans to axe more than 100,000 civil service posts were condemned as "disgraceful butchery".

Tony Blair was threatened with co-ordinated industrial action from public-sector unions over pensions and job cuts yesterday after plans to axe more than 100,000 civil service posts were condemned as "disgraceful butchery".

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, called for a joint campaign to fight the proposals. Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said he would consider co-ordinating industrial action to fight job cuts and threats to public service pensions.

Mr Serwotka won loud applause at the TUC conference as he made a scathing attack on the proposed job cuts, announced by Gordon Brown in his last Budget, saying they would cut 20 per cent of the civil service workforce. He told delegates: "We will not win this campaign without solidarity from our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement. When we march together and take action together we are stronger. We appeal to all unions who have problems with similar issues like pensions and job cuts to talk to us to see if we can co-ordinate our campaign and co-ordinate industrial action if necessary."

Mr Prentis said: "If necessary we will co-ordinate action, although that may be some way down the road. Our push on Government will not be as separate unions. It will be united as public service unions ... You don't improve services by threatening job security, cutting pay and conditions, attacking pensions or deriding office- based staff and making them pawns in a political game."

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