THE pcs civil servants union yesterday rejected the government’s pensions plan to force public servants to pay more and work longer for less in retirement, saying nothing had changed and there was no deal.
They were joined by the Unite trade union who stated that the same situation applies to their members working in the health service, and they rejected the government’s proposals.
However, Unison, the GMB and the other health unions weakened in the face of government threats, and stated they had reached a ‘heads of agreement’ with the government and would be recommending acceptance to their unions.
Unison will take the details of the proposed scheme back to its health committee, who are due to meet on 10 January, and the committee will then decide on whether to accept, reject, or formally consult NHS members on the proposals.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘Nothing has changed since two million public sector workers were on strike on 30 November and we continue to oppose the government’s attempt to force public servants to pay more and work longer for less.’
He wrote to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude yesterday afternoon rejecting the formal offer.
There was a meeting of the TUC’s public sector group of unions at 5.00pm yesterday, for unions to receive updates on the talks.
Meanwhile, public sector workers demonstrated outside the TUC headquarters yesterday, furious at the moves by these union leaders to split and weaken the pensions struggle by recommending acceptance of the government’s proposals.
Over 200 lobbyists were outside the TUC headquarters yesterday shouting ‘TUC hear us shout – the bankers win if you sell out!’ and ‘TUC hear us shout – the Tories win if you sell out.’
At the lobby, Ian Crosson, UCU membership secretary for Tower Hamlets College, said: ‘It’s really outrageous that the TUC are trying to sell out the pensions struggle.
‘The so-called concessions from the government are pathetic. We had a fantastic strike on 30th November, the only way to keep up the momentum is to keep building up the actions, involving the private sector in coordinated action.’
Nancy Taaffe, a Unison library worker, said: ‘I’m about to lose my job because of cuts and redundancies, they are merging the One Stop Shop and the library. Our branch voted for the next public sector strike to be on January 25.
‘The position of the TUC leaders is dependent on our votes. They are under the hammer, their position is precarious. We will be moving to remove them if they agree to this deal.’
Indro Sen, UCU Branch Secretary of the College of North West London, said: ‘The strike on November 30th has shown that working folk of this country have to take to the streets and to strike.
‘If union leaders disassociate themselves from the mass movement then they will find themselves isolated and the membership will vote them down.’
Speaking at the rally outside the TUC, William Westwell, from Camden Unison, said: ‘This is a class war government. What is needed is a general strike to remove the government.’
Lee Vernon, Regional Young Members Convenor for PCS, said: ‘The PCS policy is that we must call for another day of strike action and build co-ordinated action. We want to bring the other public and private sector workers on board.
‘Young people will be most affected by the changes, they are the ones that are not going to take this lying down, we cannot let them down.’