Socialist Worker

Mark Serwotka: We want more than this offer

Issue No. 2284

Workers and some union leaders have spoken out against the government’s latest pensions offer.

The most high profile has been PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.

He told Socialist Worker, “Millions went on strike to oppose working longer, paying more and getting less.

“The government’s proposed agreements mean that all of us still face these attacks.

“We were right to strike against them and we are right to oppose them now.

“The PCS hopes that all other unions will oppose the attacks and quickly move to call another day of national strike action.”

In the Unite union, members in the civil service and government departments will discuss the offer on Wednesday of next week.

Unison union members are campaigning against the offer too.

John McLoughlin is on the Unison union’s local government service group executive. He spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.

“There’s a big con put on in local government that it’s somehow different to what’s happening in the other pension schemes,” he said.

“But the whole basis of what the unions have signed up to is the Treasury statement from 2 November.

“There’s not a penny more money.”

John stresses that the fight isn’t over. He said, “It’s not a done deal yet. Pass motions, sign the statement, get on to service group executive members.

“It’s all still to play for.”

Mark Serwotka will speak at Defend pensions—escalate action—name the day! Organised by PCS Left Unity

Saturday 7 January, 11am – 4pm, Friends Meeting House (opposite Euston station). Go to

‘We need to get back to striking’

I think people will have come back after the holidays feeling anxious—but angry as well.

The latest offer is a dead end. It’s rearranged slightly but there’s no more money than there was before 30 November.

It’s a diversion. We need to go back to what we were doing—striking.

If we give up now it won’t end here. The Tories will just push us further back. We have no choice but to keep going.

So everyone needs to get up and running quickly in the new year.

Ring your reps, try to call emergency stewards meetings—do whatever you can to quickly get a mandate against the deal.

We need to send a message from the members to the executives, and we only have a few days to do it.

Unions in the past have settled for terrible deals, but we shouldn’t think they can necessarily just push it through this time.

I’ve had phone calls and emails from ordinary union members lobbying me to vote against the deal as an executive member, and it’s good to hear.

We need to put branch and regional officials under pressure and give them as much confidence as we can to argue for more strikes.

Karen Reissmann, Unison health service group executive (pc)


Prospect’s decision to sign up to the “heads of agreement” undoubtedly caused confusion among Prospect members. There is nothing substantive on offer.

In my office we quickly called a joint Prospect/PCS members’ meeting—the

mood was very solid.

Everyone saw the decision as a mistake, perhaps even an outright sell-out.

Members unanimously backed a statement calling on Prospect to reverse its decision, to reinstitute the campaign of industrial action and to refuse to attend talks without the presence of PCS.

Simon Hester, vice-chair Prospect HSE branch

Act now—what you can do

  • Sign the statement from leading trade unionists against the deal at
    View the signatories here:

  • Flood your local, regional and national trade union bodies with demands to keep up the fight, reject the latest deals, and to name the day for another mass strike in January
  • Unison members should lobby the union’s service group executives when they meet on Tuesday 10 January, 12 noon at Unison headquarters in London
  • Lobby the TUC on Thursday 12 January at 12 noon
  • Email your general secretary, national executive and service group executive members to demand they keep up the pensions fight

Reject the ‘deal’, more action now

Unite the Resistance emergency national meeting

  • Saturday 14 January, 12 noon until 4pm, Friends Meeting House, opposite Euston station, central London
  • Speakers include PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka and John McDonnell MP
  • Go to for more details

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