Public and Commercial Services Union

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Public and Commercial Services Union (logo).png
Full name Public and Commercial Services Union
Founded 1998
Members 195,091
Affiliation TUC, ICTU, STUC, NSSN, PSI, European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)
Key people Mark Serwotka, general secretary
Janice Godrich, president
Office location 160 Falcon Road, London
Country United Kingdom

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is the sixth largest trade union in the United Kingdom.[1] Most of its members work in UK government departments and other public bodies.


The union was founded in 1998 by the merger of the Public Services, Tax and Commerce Union (which mostly represented the executive grades of the Civil Service) and the Civil and Public Services Association (mostly representing the administrative grades). The General Secretaries of the two unions, John Sheldon and Barry Reamsbottom respectively, became Joint General Secretaries of the new union. In 2000, Mark Serwotka was elected General Secretary[2] and has held the position since: he was elected unopposed in 2005 (no other candidate received enough valid nominations from PCS branches); he was re-elected in 2009 for a five-year term, and in 2014 was re-elected for a further five years.[3]

Membership and organisation[edit]

The union had 195,901 members at the end of 2015[4] and is the largest trade union representing civil servants in the UK.[5]

PCS is organised into groups that deal with different bargaining units such as Revenue and Customs, Work and Pensions and Law and Justice.

Two factions compete in elections to the National Executive Committee of the PCS, its governing body: the ruling Left Unity faction,[6] which stands candidates as part of the Democracy Alliance, and an opposing Independent Left faction.[7]

PCS Credit Union[edit]

PCS Credit Union Limited is a savings and loans co-operative established by the trade union for its members in 2011.[8] It is a member of the Association of British Credit Unions Limited,[9] authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the PRA. Ultimately, like the banks and building societies, members’ savings are protected against business failure by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.[10]

Equality networks[edit]

PCS has a network for young members (aged 27 and under).

PCS has a network for LGBT members.

PCS has a network for associate and retired members.


Organisations to which PCS is affiliated include Abortion Rights,[11] Amnesty international and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.[12]


PCS is headquartered south of Battersea, next to Clapham Junction railway station.

Strikes involving PCS members[edit]


PCS members on strike in 2006.

In November 2004, PCS workers across government departments undertook a one-day strike in protest against government plans to cut the Civil Service by 20%. This action was followed by further one-day strikes on 31 January and 1 May 2007.


Three one day strikes over pay in National Museums Liverpool.[13]


PCS members on strike in 2010.

On 8 March 2010, 270,000 civil servants began a 48-hour strike over government changes to redundancy payments.[14]


The union voted for a one-day strike on 30 June 2011.[15]

Striking teachers and public sector workers march down the Kingsway, London, flanked by police on 30 June, as part of the 2011 United Kingdom anti-austerity protests.[16]

There were stints of hour strikes during the summer months of 2011 but these were not full walk outs.[citation needed]

A further strike was voted for by members for 30 November 2011, over pensions negotiations with the government.

There was a three-hour strike on 12 December 2011 over privatisation of call centres, with further action planned for 16 and 31 January 2012.[17]


Action was planned for 16 and 31 January 2012.[17] Although original hopes of a national strike on 28 March, only a London strike materialised, due to lack of support from other unions rejecting national strikes. The PCS later joined a national strike on 10 May alongside UCU, NIPSA and Unite (Health)


Strike action was organised for New Year's Eve 2013 for all Metropolitan Police Service Civil Staff due to a pay dispute. Taking strike action on this day was deemed to be most effective because of the busy nature of the day for police.[18] The MPS offered a below inflation wage increase of 1%. Another strike ballot was announced on 6 February 2014 for strike action on 12 and 13 February 2014.


PCS announced a strike on 10 July over pay.


Strike action of Driving examiners was organised for 4 and 5 December to coincide with the introduction of new driving tests in order to protest against the introduction of Satellite Navigation to the test on 4 December. Examiners also voted started work to rule on 23 November.[19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About PCS". Public and Commercial Services Union Website. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Daniels, Gary; McIlroy, John, eds. (2009), "Trade Unions in a Neoliberal World", Routledge Research in Employment Relations Series, Taylor & Francis, 20, p. 154, ISBN 9780415426633 
  3. ^ "Mark Serwotka re-elected". PCS News centre. 17 December 2009. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Public and Commercial Services Union: 2015 Annual Return" (PDF). Gov.UK. Retrieved 11 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "PCS union renews pension strike threat". BBC. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ PCS Credit Union Public and Commercial Services Union (retrieved 21 February 2015)
  9. ^ Credit unions in membership of ABCUL Association of British Credit Unions (retrieved 1 November 2014)
  10. ^ Credit Union Guide Financial Services Compensation Scheme (retrieved 2 April 2015)
  11. ^ "Abortion Rights: PCS Public-Sector Workers Reject Demands To End Affiliation To Progressive Rights Group". 23 May 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Mark, Serwoka (2014). "PCS Annual financial report". PCS. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Third one day strike to hit Liverpool museums". PCS. 22 August 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "270,000 civil servants join 48-hour strike". BBC. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  15. ^ McSmith, Andy; Morris, Nigel (16 June 2011). "Britain walks out: UK braced for biggest wave of strikes since the 1980s". The Independent. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  16. ^ "Union put brave face on strike turn out and insist walkout was 'best ever' response". Daily Mail. London. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Defend call centres from privateers". PCS. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Metropolitan Police civilian Staff on New Year's Eve strike". BBC News. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "DVSA workers set to strike in dispute over new driving test". Public and Commercial Services Union. Retrieved 2017-11-18. 
  20. ^ "Driving examiners to strike on test day". BBC News. 2017-11-15. Retrieved 2017-11-18. 

External links[edit]