Election as general secretary
Serwotka became a union representative in 1980 and a personal case officer in 1995.
In the 2000 election that saw Serwotka elected General Secretary, he initially faced two rival candidates: Hugh Lanning of the Membership First faction and the incumbent Barry Reamsbottom of the National Moderate Group. However, Reamsbottom did not secure the fifty branch nominations needed to appear on the ballot paper. Serwotka then beat Lanning with 41,000 to 33,000 votes.
Following Serwotka's election, Reamsbottom refused to step down when his term of office expired, citing what he claimed were legal irregularities in the election process. The dispute was taken to the High Court where Serwotka won and subsequently assumed office.
In 2005, Serwotka was elected unopposed for another term as General Secretary; no other candidates were allowed to stand as he was the only candidate with the required 25 branch nominations. In 2009, Serwotka was re-elected for a five-year term, gaining 37,866 votes against Rob Bryson's 21,883. In 2014, he was elected unopposed for a fourth five-year term.
In the 2000 General Secretary election, Serwotka pledged that if elected he would only accept the equivalent of an average civil servant's wage. Serwotka returns around £8,000 of his annual salary to the union. In 2011, his total package was worth £126,258 including pension contributions of £27,860.
Serwotka was a member of Socialist Organiser in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He caused controversy during a speech at the 1985 Annual Conference of the Civil and Public Services Association when he described part-time workers, many of whom were trade union members, as "Scab Labour". He was later a supporter of the Socialist Alliance and then Respect.
In February 2013, Serwotka was among those who gave their support to the People's Assembly in a letter published by The Guardian newspaper. Serwotka attempted to vote in the 2015 Labour Leadership Election, but was among those who had their vote rejected by the party.
In March 2016, Serwotka rejoined the Labour Party after being expelled from it over 25 years earlier. He wrote in The Huffington Post: "Jeremy [Corbyn] is the first Labour leader in a generation who unequivocally supports the unions and his opposition to the trade union bill has been crucial." He added "I have joined to support Jeremy in transforming the party. And I want as many people as possible to join Labour, and to get involved in the fight against cuts where they live. This is our chance to build a social movement and form a government that can offer hope to the millions of people that deserve so much better than these contemptible Tories."
He was readmitted to hospital on 30 August 2016, when the ventricular assist device developed a clot and his doctors then placed him on the urgent transplant list. In December 2016 he had a heart transplant at Papworth Hospital.
- "Birthday's today". London: The Telegraph. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
Mr Mark.H.Serwotka, General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union, 49
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- PCS Press release on the court case
- Labournet on the dispute
- Article from the New Statesman
- Mark Serwotka on HARDtalk (Video) – Part 1 18.08.2008
- Mark Serwotka on HARDtalk (Video) – Part 2 18.08.2008
- BBC Radio 4: Profile: Mark Serwotka (podcast mp3 file)
|Trade union offices|
|General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union
2002 – present