Mark Serwotka

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Serwotka in 2008

Mark Serwotka (/ˈsɛərvtkə/; born 26 April 1963)[1] is General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the largest trade union representing British civil servants. He is also President of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Early life[edit]

Serwotka was adopted from a Catholic orphanage in Cardiff, Wales by a Polish-born father and a Welsh mother.[2]


In 1979, aged sixteen, he joined the Civil Service, and started work as a benefits clerk, joining the union on the first day at work.[3] On 12 September 2018 Serwotka was elected as the President of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).[4][5]

Election as general secretary[edit]

Serwotka became a union representative in 1980 and a personal case officer in 1995.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] The dispute was taken to the High Court where Serwotka won and subsequently assumed office.[10][11]

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.[12] In 2014, he was elected unopposed for a fourth five-year term.[13]

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.[2] In 2011, his total package was worth £126,258 including pension contributions of £27,860.[14]

Political views[edit]

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.[15]

In February 2013, Serwotka was among those who gave their support to the People's Assembly in a letter published by The Guardian newspaper.[16] Serwotka attempted to vote in the 2015 Labour Leadership Election, but was among those who had their vote rejected by the party.[17]

In March 2016, Serwotka rejoined the Labour Party after being expelled from it over 25 years earlier.[18] 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."[19]

Personal life[edit]

Married, Serwotka is an avid Cardiff City fan and lives in Ceredigion, West Wales.

Ahead of a visit by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010, Serwotka was named as one of the hundred most influential Catholics in Britain by The Tablet.[20]

In 2013 he was fitted with a battery-powered ventricular assist device after picking up a viral infection from the family dog.[21] 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.[22]


  1. ^ "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
  2. ^ a b "Union boss Mark Serwotka hits out at 'fat cat' claims over £86,000 salary". Wales Online. 24 July 2011.
  3. ^ Andy Bloxham (28 January 2011). "Union talks: the key players". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Mark Serwotka". Debretts. Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  7. ^ Osler, David (18 July 2002). "PCS Conspiracy Flashback: TUCETU, IRIS, and TRUEMID".
  8. ^ Foot, Paul (29 May 2002). "Hard to say goodbye". The Guardian. London, UK.
  9. ^ Maguire, Kevin (24 May 2002). "Union leader refuses to quit". The Guardian. London, UK.
  10. ^ "Left-winger wins union court battle". BBC News. 31 July 2002.
  11. ^ "Case No: HC 02CO1433 Neutral Citation Number: [2002] EWHC 1642 Ch In the High Court of Justice Chancery Division". 31 July 2002. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Mark Serwotka re-elected". PCS News centre. 17 December 2009. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Mark Serwotka re-elected unopposed". PCS News centre. 23 October 2014. Archived from the original on 25 November 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Annual Return for a Trade Union" (PDF). Certification Officer. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Key players in the union movement". BBC News. 5 September 2007.
  16. ^ People's Assembly opening letter 5 February 2013, The Guardian Newspaper.
  17. ^ "Labour leadership: Mark Serwotka of PCS union has vote rejected". BBC News. 26 August 2015.
  18. ^ Waugh, Paul (2 March 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn Allies Mark Serwotka And Matt Wrack Have Been Readmitted To The Labour Party, HuffPostUK Reveals". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  19. ^ Serwotka, Mark (2 March 2016). "I Have Rejoined Labour to Support Jeremy Corbyn". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  20. ^ Bates, Stephen (14 September 2010). "The church that Pope Benedict will find in Britain". The Guardian. London.
  21. ^ Maguire, Kevin (4 April 2016). "Union leader who's kept alive by BATTERIES backs campaign for opt-out organ donor register". Daily Mirror.
  22. ^ "Mark Serwotka has successful heart transplant". PCS Public and Commercial Services Union. Archived from the original on 11 December 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.

External links[edit]

Trade union offices
Preceded by
Barry Reamsbottom
General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union
2002 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sally Hunt
President of the Trades Union Congress
Succeeded by