If we deliver decent public sector pay rises we can transform people’s live and change politics in Britain, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told a TUC fringe meeting of the LRC.
Mark spoke on a panel last night (12) including Maria Exall from CWU, Matt Wrack from the Fire Brigades Union and George Atwall from BFAWU, at the fringe - Tories Out! Unite Our Movement to Defeat Austerity - at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton.
Mark stressed the need for the 1% public sector pay cap to be scrapped for everybody and that any rises above inflation must be fully funded by the government and not paid for by cuts.
“We have to give strength and confidence to people. Wouldn't it be great if all public sector unions balloted at same time?” he said. “We must not be defeatist and concede that we can’t hit 50% thresholds in public sector strike ballots. There is no real reason for public sector unions
“If we win on pay we look forward to being at TUC next year celebrating the first growth in our members’ living standards for 7 years and not another miserable year. If we deliver decent public sector pay rises we can transform people’s lives and change politics in Britain. United we stand we will not let the government divide us.”
Mark said many journalists had asked him how a 5% pay rise for public sector workers, demanded by PCS and others, would be funded.
He told the audience: “I don’t think public sector workers are going to send their pay rises to the Cayman Islands. They will spend the money in the local communities. A pay rise will promote investment in public services.”
George described how inspiring it was to work with and organise young McDonald’s workers in their recent strike against zero-hours pay and for union recognition.
Maria called for solidarity for 110,000 CWU members in the Royal Mail and Parcel Force who are due to be balloted for strike action from tomorrow (14) until 3 October over attacks on their pensions, terms and conditions and ways of working.
“We’re looking for a proper pay deal and a shorter working week,” she said. “This is the first mass industrial action since privatisation of Royal Mail 3 years ago and also the first really big ballot under the strike threshold restrictions imposed by the Trade Union Act.”