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PCS union in talks with others over general strike

Mark Serwotka (pictured) is negotiating details of a general strike. Credit: PA

A union leader has confirmed he is in talks with counterparts about staging a general strike.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), said discussions were under way about action that would show people can "fight back".

It comes after it emerged last week that Unite had submitted documents to the TUC calling for a 24-hour general strike against austerity measures.

Ambulance drivers to strike in cuts row

Ambulance drivers will go on strike today in a bitter row over cuts and union recognition.

Staff and paramedics will mount picket lines outside ambulance stations across the county.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust will go on strike today. Credit: PA

Unite said its 450 members at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust will walk out for 24 hours after the failure to break the deadlock.

Members of other unions are not involved in the action and will be working normally to provide emergency cover and other services.

Unite said it was de-recognised after raising concerns about patient safety over plans to make savings of £46 million over the next five years.

The union said there were proposals to employ emergency care assistants, with only a few weeks training, alongside paramedics.


Teachers' unions call on Gove to respond to demands

Demonstrators against teachers' pensions reforms last year Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The head of the NASUWT teachers' union, Chris Keates, has accused the Education Secretary Michael Gove of “recklessly pursued a relentless attack on the profession".

He called on Mr Gove to respond to the union's "reasonable demands" in order to avoid "widespread disruption in schools" this summer.

NUT head Christine Blower warned that the pensions situation and increased workload is "making teaching an unsustainable option for many".

Teaching unions outline timetable of industrial action

The two largest teaching unions, NUT and NASUWT, have announced a series of industrial actions in response to their dispute with the government over pay, pensions and workload.

The actions include:

  • National rallies across England and Wales in April and May
  • National strikes starting in the North West on June 27

If the Education Secretary does not "respond positively to the unions’ demands" there is also a chance of further strike action in the Autumn term, including a one-day nationwide strike.

Public sector strike threat 'extremely frustrating'

At a time when the private sector is working extremely hard to get the economy back into growth, it is extremely frustrating to see public sector unions going out on strike.

Civil servants already enjoy better pay and pensions than the wider workforce, but Mark Serwotka thinks they should take no share of the pain involved in sorting out the public finances.

It sends an awful message to investors around the world for the PCS to strike on Budget Day in an attempt to prevent the essential work of reducing the deficit.

– Alexander Ehmann, Institute of Directors


Government vows to address employment T&Cs

The Government said it will address some of its terms and conditions for employees after public sector workers called a strike:

While there has been significant recent change in pay and pensions, there are other terms and conditions that have not been updated.

We will address this and ensure a modern employment offer is available to all.

– Cabinet Office spokesman

Cabinet defends pay and pensions reforms

The Government said "pay restraint" had helped protect jobs and its pensions remain "among the very best available" after civil servants announced a strike:

The Government took the tough decision to freeze public sector pay for two years, while protecting those earning under £21,000 by increasing their pay by at least £250 per year.

Pay restraint has helped to protect jobs in the public sector and support high- quality public services.

In March 2012 we set out our final proposed agreements on pension reform following more than a year of intensive discussions with trade unions.

These reforms will ensure that public sector pensions will remain among the very best available and that they can be sustained for future generations.

– Cabinet Office spokesman

Government: Civil servants' strike 'futile' and 'damaging'

The PCS is planning three months of protests against budget cuts Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

The Government said it was "disappointing" that the PCS union is planning three months of industrial action, including a huge strike on Budget day.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "It is disappointing that, yet again, the PCS insist on pushing for futile action which benefits no-one, and damages the services they deliver to the public."

PCS union unveils three-month action plan

The Public and Commercial Services union says a Budget-day strike will be the first event in a three-month long protest against budget cuts, to include:

  • An all-day strike on 20 March with rallies and demonstrations in key locations, including Westminster
  • Further national and group strikes of varying durations, including half days and short walkouts, timed to have the greatest impact
  • Industrial action short of a strike, including a national overtime ban until 20 June
  • Disruptive action in groups
  • Strike days interspersed with other protests and campaigning activities around specific themes
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