Pensions strikers commended by new general secretary on latest picket line

Pensions Regulator strikers in Brighton were praised by the TUC general secretary as well as Fran Heathcote on her first day as PCS general secretary.

Almost 400 PCS members at The Pensions Regulator (TPR) continue to take strike action as part of a long-running dispute over pay.

They have been offered a 3% pay rise while other civil service employers are paying 4.5%.

The first day of strike action took place on 5 September and there has been ongoing strike action ever since.

Paul Nowak, the TUC general secretary, sent solidarity from the TUC to the strikers before introducing Fran Heathcote, who today (1 February) replaces Mark Serwotka as general secretary of PCS.

Fran told the strikers that joining them was a “great way to start my first day in my new job”.

“Don’t underestimate the impact you’re having,” she said. “Stay strong. Stick together.”

She added that: “Whatever your members decide, in terms of the next steps of the campaign, we will back you 100% of the way.”

There have been picket lines with at least 30 TPR members in attendance on every day of strike action - apart from one day when the weather was extreme.

Throughout this period of strike action, TPR have been intransigent and failed to accept reasonable requests from PCS to attempt to resolve the dispute.

But it remains clear that staff at TPR are fully behind the dispute, with PCS membership there growing to 372 from the starting point of 150 in September.

“Determined and resolute”

One member said this week that the “dismissive and contemptuous attitude” of TPR “has left me with no choice [but to strike].”

“I love my job, and long for the day when this dispute is over,” they added. “Striking is not always easy, but the comradery and support from PCS along with my striking colleagues has been inspirational and reassuring. I remain as determined and resolute than ever to fight for what we deserve.”

The ongoing strike has also gained widespread coverage in the pensions press, placing pressure on the employer to pay up.

As well as explaining why are our members are so angry, The Financial Times’ sister publication FT Adviser highlighted how the ongoing strike action is creating a backlog of work and systemic disruption to TPR’s ability to deliver on their statutory duties.

The ongoing action is being particularly acutely felt in the area of enforcement where the vast majority of PCS members have steadfastly observed the call to strike.

PCS is urging TPR to get back round the table for meaningful talks to resolve this unnecessary dispute before irreparable damage is done.

How to show your support

Not yet a PCS member? Join online today.