Summer strikes planned by PCS over public sector pay rise limits

Government departments have been warned to brace themselves for a new wave of strikes specifically designed to cause as much disruption as possible.

Heartened by the success of organising joint strikes with teachers last month, union officials at this week’s PCS annual conference revealed plans to cause “severe disruptions” across the UK over the next few months.

The PCS has led other public sector unions in protesting against sub-inflation pay rises in recent years.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said this summer’s strikes would move on from the statement making of the past and aim to hit the government where it hurts.

“We’ve committed ourselves to fighting Brown’s pay-restraint policy, and we don’t envisage waiting a long time,” he said.

“When you look at the work our people do, we think there’s a capacity there to cause problems. What we will be doing is looking at bringing out groups of members in sequential actions.”

Up to 325,000 teachers, lecturers and civil servants took part in nationally organised strikes on 24 April, which Lanning says were successful in bringing the government back into negotiations.

Hugh Lanning, PCS deputy general secretary, told Personnel Today that hostilities would now be ramped up.

“What happened on 24 April sparked the imaginations of other unions,” he said. “With the real impact of inflation yet to be felt, the pressure upwards will eventually reach a boiling point.”

Lanning accused the Department for Work and Pensions of being “unwilling to compromise”.

But a spokesman from the department insisted: “There have been more than 30 meetings with PCS negotiators on the current pay award, and the issues that the PCS raise on pay, pensions and employment security are all important ones which we are very willing to continue to discuss.”

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