Joint public service strikes unlikely to take place during original target of the Labour Party conference

A date for joint public service strikes is unlikely to be set in time for the original target of the Labour Party conference, unions have admitted.

The National Union of Teachers has been in talks with fellow public sector unions Unison and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union over co-ordinated strikes.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said in May that there could be widespread industrial action in ‘late summer’, with prime minister Gordon Brown’s speech at the Labour Party conference on 24 September a possible target.

But with less than a month remaining until that speech, and a fresh ballot likely to be necessary before joint strikes are announced, unions are resetting their sights.

A PCS source told Personnel Today: “I wouldn’t have thought that a strike would happen as soon as the Labour conference.

“There is a meeting of the PCS executive on 4 to 6 September, and we will decide on a path forward then and look to ratify it at the TUC Congress the following week.

“We will have a clearer idea of where things are going after the TUC Congress.”

PCS members held one-day strikes on 31 January and 1 May this year in the dispute over pay levels, privatisation and job cuts in the Civil Service.

The dispute stems from the government’s decision in July 2004 to make £21.5bn of savings in the public sector over four years.

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