19/03/2012 17:49 GMT | Updated 19/03/2012 18:08 GMT

Public And Commercial Services Union Plans Further Pensions Action

Public and civil servants could take strike action after Easter in the bitter dispute over pensions, a union has announced.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said it will continue to pursue a joint campaign with other unions against the Government's planned public sector pension changes.

There had previously been suggestions that the union, which represents around 290,000 civil and public servants, would take part in a walkout on 28 March.

Last week, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said it was calling a one-day regional strike in London on that day as the next step in its pensions campaign.

London-based members of the University and College Union (UCU) who are part of the Teachers' Pension Scheme are also expected to take part in the walkout.

Today the PCS executive said that they had agreed to offer "solidarity and practical support" to the teachers and lecturers taking part in the action, and to "redouble efforts towards co-ordinated national action in April".

It means their members will not take part in the 28 March strike.

The PCS executive also announced that they will be writing to the Government to formally reject the latest pensions offer and seek urgent negotiations.

In a statement, the PCS said that it still intends to work with other unions to build up to joint national industrial action before the end of April. This will follow any decision taken by the NUT at its annual conference, held over the Easter weekend.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Our overwhelming ballot result came in the face of continuing attacks from the Government and during a time when many people are suffering personal financial hardship.

"While we remain committed to negotiating with ministers, they have so far refused to move from their plans to force civil and public servants to work longer and pay more for less in retirement.

"We will be working with other unions to build for co-ordinated national action to successfully fight these cuts to pensions, as well as those to pay and jobs that this brutal Government is inflicting on the public sector."

On Friday, the PCS announced that its consultation ballot of members had shown support for continuing a campaign against pension changes.

Some 90.5% of those who took part in the ballot rejected the Government's proposals for a new pension scheme, and 72.1% backed continuing the campaign, including further industrial action with other unions.

In its statement, PCS also said it will be organising targeted protests at Cabinet ministers' constituencies during the Easter parliamentary break with other unions, as well as lobbying MPs.

The Government has been embroiled in a row with unions over the future of public sector pensions.

While some have now agreed to accept a deal, other unions have rejected the Government's offer, maintaining that it will leave them working longer, paying in more and receiving less when they retire.

Ministers argue that changes are needed to make pensions sustainable for the future.

As well as London-based members of the NUT and UCU, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has said that more than 600 of its members at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, which supports and services the Navy, will walk out on 28 March.