PCS pulls out of March 28th strike action

by - 20th March 2012, 7.44 BST

PCS members will not be going on strike next week, after executive members yesterday voted instead to build for a co-ordinated national strike in April.

The union’s national executive said it would back the March 28th strikes by teachers and lecturers by offering solidarity and practical support, but it would not be joining them in taking industrial action.

UnionNews understands the executive decided the consultative ballot called on PCS to take part in a coordinated strike with other unions, across more than one pension scheme – but that without national action by teaching unions, there was not a sufficient mandate for PCS members to strike next week.

PCS will write formally to the government to reject the latest ‘final’ offer, and seek urgent negotiations, and organise targeted protests at cabinet ministers’ constituencies during the Easter parliamentary break with other unions, as well as wider lobbying of MPs.

In a consultation ballot with members, 90.5% voted to reject the government’s offer and 72.1% voted to support a programme of further action with other unions – the highest vote for action the union has ever had.

The union has consistently said that, because the cuts are being applied across the public sector, co-ordinated national action has been necessary to win concessions, and will be necessary in future by as many unions as possible.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka (pictured) said: “Our overwhelming ballot result came in the face of continuing attacks from the government, and during a time when many people are suffering personal financial hardship.

“While we remain committed to negotiating with ministers, they have so far refused to move from their plans to force civil and public servants to work longer and pay more for less in retirement.

“We will be working with other unions to build for co-ordinated national action to successfully fight these cuts to pensions, as well as those to pay and jobs that this brutal government is inflicting on the public sector.”