PCS union renews pension strike threat

PCS (Public and Commercial Services) union members wave flags at cars near Heathrow Airport, west of London, on November 30, 2011, as they take part in a national strikes against pension cuts. Hundreds of thousands of public sector staff struck on 30 November in their dispute over pension changes

Leaders of the biggest civil service trade union, the PCS, have threatened more strikes over the government's changes to public sector pensions.

PCS leaders demanded "proper negotiations" over plans to make public sector staff pay more and work longer for their pensions.

The PCS also threatened court action if the government went ahead with its threat to exclude it from more talks.

The government wants to save billions of pounds from its pension bill.

It is planning to make substantial increases in employee contributions in three stages between April this year and April 2015.

Then it plans to bring in new, and less generous, career average pension schemes for most public sector employees, with the pension age rising in line with the increasing state pension age, eventually to 68.

The plans led to a huge, nationwide, strike at the end of November.

'Suffocate'

Since the strike, some unions have committed themselves to further talks while others have rejected the government's outline plans.

For example, the GMB and Prospect unions have agreed to continue to the next stage of negotiations about the civil service pension scheme.

But PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "From the very start, ministers have quite obviously tried to suffocate the pensions talks, to bully and mislead, and to impose their will on millions of civil servants, teachers, council staff and health workers."

"We have told ministers we expect to be included in any future discussions.

"But we are clear that, with no significant movement since two million public servants took strike action together on 30 November, further co-ordinated industrial action will be necessary to stop these unfair and entirely unnecessary plans," he added.

State of the talks

Sector Union Reaction
Local government

Unite

Rejected the proposed deal

Unison

To continue negotiating

GMB

Has agreed to move on to the next level of negotiation. It has 250,000 members

Health

Unison

To continue negotiating

British Medical Association (BMA)

The BMA, which represents doctors, is consulting its members

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Consulting its members

Unite

Rejected the deal in early January. It has 100,000 members in the NHS

GMB

To continue negotiating

Education

NUT

Refused to endorse the latest offer and has called for more negotiations

NASUWT

Refused to endorse the latest offer and has called for more negotiations

ATL

Considered the deal the best it could get in negotiations, will consult members, and the executive will announce its decision on 28 January

UCU

Committee meets on 20 January before consulting members

Civil service

PCS

The largest civil service union, has been the most vocal in rejecting proposed changes to the scheme from the outset. It has threatened further strikes.

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (Nipsa)

Rejected the deal

GMB

Agreed to continue negotiations

Prospect

Agreed to further negotiations

Prison Officers' Association

Refused to sign up to the latest deal

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