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 trade union for British civil servants.

Early life[edit]

Born in a Catholic orphanage in Cardiff, Wales, he was adopted by a Polish-born British 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.[citation needed]

Election as general secretary[edit]

Serwotka became a union representative in 1980 and a personal case officer in 1995.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] The dispute was taken to the High Court where Serwotka won and subsequently assumed office.[7][8]

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.[9] In 2014, he was elected unopposed for a fourth five-year term.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

In February 2013, Serwotka was among those who gave their support to the People's Assembly in a letter published by The Guardian newspaper.[13] Serwotka attempted to vote in the 2015 Labour Leadership Election, but was among those who had their vote rejected by the party.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Married, Serwotka is an avid Cardiff City fan and lives in Chipstead, Surrey.[15]

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.[16]

In 2013 he was fitted with a battery-powered ventricular assist device after picking up a viral infection from the family dog.[17]


  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. ^ "Mark Serwotka". Debretts. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  4. ^ Osler, David (18 July 2002). "PCS Conspiracy Flashback: TUCETU, IRIS, and TRUEMID". 
  5. ^ Foot, Paul (29 May 2002). "Hard to say goodbye". The Guardian (London, UK). 
  6. ^ Maguire, Kevin (24 May 2002). "Union leader refuses to quit". The Guardian (London, UK). 
  7. ^ "Left-winger wins union court battle". BBC News. 31 July 2002. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ "Mark Serwotka re-elected". PCS News centre. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "Mark Serwotka re-elected unopposed". PCS News centre. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Annual Return for a Trade Union" (PDF). Retrieved 5 October 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ "Key players in the union movement". BBC News. 5 September 2007. 
  13. ^ People's Assembly opening letter 5 February 2013, The Guardian Newspaper.
  14. ^ "Labour leadership: Mark Serwotka of PCS union has vote rejected". BBC News. 26 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Owen, Glen (26 June 2011). "Strike leader has £26,159 paid into his pension pot every year (the average salary of his members is £22,850)". Daily Mail (London, UK). 
  16. ^ Bates, Stephen (14 September 2010). "The church that Pope Benedict will find in Britain". The Guardian (London). 
  17. ^ Maguire, Kevin (4 April 2016). "Union leader who's kept alive by BATTERIES backs campaign for opt-out organ donor register". Daily Mirror. 

External links[edit]

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