Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 October 2008

PCS members vote to strike

Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) members across all government departments have voted to take strike action against the government's imposed 2% pay rise maximum. (See below for details of the ballot result).

Bill Mullins

This follows a national strike earlier this year against job losses, the pay freeze, privatisation and attacks on the civil service redundancy scheme.

PCS were successful in reaching agreement on three issues to the satisfaction of the members, who voted 94% in favour of the deal, but this left the pay issue still to fight for.

In the latest ballot, 54% voted to strike and 80% voted for action short of a strike. The tens of thousands of low-paid civil service workers who are prepared to take strike action are a remarkable indication of their preparedness to struggle.

The voting took place just as the whirlwind of the financial crisis began to hit the headlines, with all of the threats to jobs and living standards that this means.

The campaign to win the 'yes' vote was down to the leadership of the union, including many Socialist Party members, who had spoken at dozens of membership meetings up and down the country.

The PCS membership is spread across some 200 different government departments and agencies. This meant that the union had to campaign on the basis of convincing workers that only a national pay settlement could address their grievances.

It is a tribute to the leadership of the union that they were able to bring them altogether and get a majority to vote to take action under a single campaign over pay.

The union's national executive (NEC) will meet next week to decide the timing of any national day of action to kick off the industrial action part of the campaign. This will include sectoral action, ie, workers in the same sectors, for example, health, welfare, tax etc taking action and a national overtime ban. The PCS demands are reasonable, modest and achievable and are what members need and deserve to make some progress away from a downward spiral of low pay.

The college lecturers have accepted their pay offer of between 2% and 5% and the Police Federation has also accepted their recent pay offer of around 2.5%.

The PCS NEC should know by next week the outcome of the ballot amongst teachers in the NUT. If this is also successful the opportunity for joint action is on the cards.

The government seems determined to keep the lid on public-sector pay. It remains to be seen what happens in the negotiations opening up. It would be better if there was a united fight of all the public-sector unions.

But even if the rest of the public-sector unions take a step back, the PCS leaders will, if necessary, organise action alone to defend their members' living standards.

PCS has achieved settlements based on the sound tactical use of industrial action as part of its campaigning work to protect members' interests. Sticking together in a united campaign is the best way to avoid any attempt by the government to isolate the most militant union in the public sector.

Votes for strike action:

Number of ballot papers returned 91,749

Spoilt ballot papers 971

Votes for action short of a strike:

Number of ballot papers returned 91,749 Spoilt ballot papers 1,421

The turnout was 35%.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 21 October 2008:

Ford workers strike

'Why not save our jobs?'

Socialist measures to fight capitalist crisis

Socialism 2008

Rally For Socialism 2008

Socialism 2008 details pdf

Socialism 2008 - book here

Socialism 2008 website

Socialist Party editorial

Keynesianism now trumpeted

Socialist Party campaigns

Liverpool: Mass protest wins back the right to campaign!

Demonstrators stop fascist march

42-day detention dropped - for now

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS members vote to strike

Fight for jobs at JCB

Striking against academies

Protest at disciplinary action against teachers

Fast News

Socialist Students

Bangor students vote to fight fees

Fighting for youth in Lewisham

Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action

Kirklees: The battle to save our schools heats up


NHS props up the private profiteers

We can't afford private rail. Nationalise the railways now!

International socialist news and analysis

Iceland: A victim of the casino economy

Aer Lingus threatens to axe 1,500 posts

Socialist Party review

Persepolis, directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Black Power Salute (BBC 4)


Home   |   The Socialist 21 October 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleBalloting members on the pay cap

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

triangleSocialist Party PCS bulletin: Scrap the pay cap


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleWhat we saw

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice