New strike threat over pensions
The biggest civil service union has threatened another strike in protest at the Government's controversial pension reforms amid claims that the coalition "unleashed hell" against workers and communities through its spending cuts.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union agreed to build towards fresh walkouts at the end of next month with as many unions as possible unless talks over the pension changes are reopened.
Delegates at the PCS's annual conference in Brighton also vowed to campaign against legislation which will enable the pension reforms to take place.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said workers faced "unprecedented" challenges, adding: "What the Government is doing is unleashing hell on members, their communities and vulnerable families. This is a Government of millionaires, of incompetence, which is ruling on behalf of a tiny elite, without a mandate."
Mr Serwotka said unions were now the real opposition to the Government, attacking Labour for going along with many of the coalition's cuts.
Some delegates argued that the PCS should go it alone with further walkouts if other unions decided against taking further action. But Mr Serwotka said PCS members had voted to take industrial action alongside other unions, so some would feel demoralised if that did not happen.
He added: "Let us hope we have a massive strike in June, but it needs to be with other unions."
The union has already taken part in three days of national strikes over pensions and is planning further action in some Government departments, including transport.
Mr Serwotka told the 1,000 delegates that Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude was refusing to reopen talks, describing him as the "Minister for Chaos" following the row over petrol supplies when tanker drivers threatened to strike.
Mr Maude said: " Once again I am disappointed that the PCS insists on pushing for futile strike action which benefits no-one and I would urge them to reconsider their position. As we have said time and again, pension talks will not be reopened and nothing further will be achieved through strike action."