In the Media

Serwotka threatens more disruption after ?brilliant? court strike

PUBLISHED May 11, 2012

Friday 11 May 2012 by John Hyde

A union leader has threatened a further strike next month after industrial action by court workers across the country.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said yesterday's one-day strike had received 'brilliant support' from members working in the courts service. The government insisted that only a handful of courts were forced to close completely.

Serwotka said members were angry about plans to change their pension scheme and had enough resolve to take action again. He described the action as 'an incredibly important step'. In one London court, jurors refused to cross the picket line, he said.

'I'll be going to the Trades Union Congress next week to argue for more action. We should be striking again in June. Think what a blow it will be to the government if we go out again with more unions. I want to tell my kids that when the going got tough we stood up and fought.'

The PCS claimed that members refused to work at sites across the UK.

In Thames Valley, an average of 90% of members went on strike, while a 98% strike turnout was reported in Liverpool, where the Crown court cancelled jury trials. The union also stated there was disruption in Leicester, Birkenhead, Warrington and Macclesfield and Northampton.

In London, the union said 60% of members at the Royal Courts of Justice observed the strike and claimed judges had also offered their support to the campaign.

HM Courts and Tribunal Service confirmed that three probate registries, two magistrates courts and Liverpool Youth Court all closed completely. A spokesman said a contingency plan had been enacted to make custody cases and urgent family cases a priority.

'We are keeping disruption to a minimum and will work with all staff to deliver our services to the public.'

The strike relates to a long-running dispute between the government and public sector unions over pensions. In the Queen's speech this week, plans were confirmed to increase the state pension age to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Pension contributions will also rise immediately as the government pledges to make provision more sustainable.