Socialist Worker

Victory as court rules in PCS union’s favour

Issue No. 2201

Civil service workers were celebrating on Monday after their PCS union won a crucial legal victory against the government’s plans to slash their redundancy payments.

Following a two-day High Court judicial review last month, Mr Justice Swales ruled that the government had acted unlawfully when it introduced a new redundancy scheme.

It did this without PCS agreement, and the new scheme reduced the rights workers had built up.

This a major blow for the new scheme imposed by the Labour government which took effect on the 1 April.

It made it cheaper to sack staff and prepared the ground for a wave of job losses and privatisations in the public sector.


PCS members struck powerfully against the plans for three days in March this year, even though a number of other unions had wrongly accepted them. They faced criticism from politicians and civil servants.

But the ruling vindicates the strikes.

It also means that the new government will have to reopen negotiations with the union when it comes to office.

The union has said that a failure to comply with the ruling could mean new industrial action.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said, “Our members in the civil and public services refused to sit back and watch their terms and conditions being ripped up in front of their eyes.

“This ruling is a huge tribute to them for mounting one of the most impressive campaigns this union has seen, in the face of some disgraceful criticism from their employer and ministers.

“We will now be knocking on the door of the next government to remind ministers they are legally obliged to reach an agreement with us.

“If they do not meet their obligations, the union will have to consider further industrial and legal action.”

Andy Reid, a member of the PCS’s national executive, told Socialist Worker, “This is a vindication for our members.

“It is a step forward and puts us in a better position for the battles to come.”

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Tue 11 May 2010, 17:13 BST
Issue No. 2201
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