John McInally, National vice-president of the PCS civil service union, personal capacity
PCS national strike on Budget Day, 20 March 2013, Yorkshire

PCS national strike on Budget Day, 20 March 2013, Yorkshire   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

PCS members have been involved in action every single week over the course of the last three months. We are seeing cuts and privatisation continuing and we’re seeing a massive drop in living standards, as are working people generally.

So as far as our union is concerned it’s not that we want to fight, we don’t see any alternative to fighting.

We know that Chancellor George Osborne will announce more massive cuts in the public sector in his spending review this week.

So we’re organising a day of protest on 27 June. There will be rallies and other events throughout the country.

We know our action is having a real disruptive impact but ministers are refusing to talk to us because they are trying to make deals at departmental or group level without talking to the union nationally. They want to stop effective collective bargaining.

Over the next few weeks we will be discussing with PCS members and activists about the best ways of escalating the action.

One of the reasons PCS is able to deliver action consistently is that we’ve always consulted with members and activists, so that the action will be effective and sustainable.

We’ll also try to build as many alliances as possible with other unions. Members are asking themselves why, while every part of the public sector is under attack, PCS seems to be the only union taking action.

We think that’s a legitimate question. So it’s really good that the teachers are on strike this week in the North West (see page 2).

Every single union in our country has a grievance or a trade dispute of some sort, so it’s nonsense that organising action together is too difficult.

We’re approaching the fourth year of this coalition government. It’s no longer good enough for union leaders to stand up at their conferences and give militant speeches and then do nothing.

Our policy is absolutely clear that all forms of protest are valid but the best way of tackling this millionaire cabinet is mass coordinated industrial action across the public and private sector.

The best way forward is to build mass coordinated action, including a 24-hour general strike in order to defeat austerity.

  • Follow John McInally on twitter: @JohnMcInallypcs