By Claire West

Speaking after Friday's meeting at the TUC, Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said:

"It was a very good first meeting and we made a lot of progress towards a more co-ordinated approach to campaigning against the government's cuts.

"PCS fundamentally rejects the need for these cuts, which are totally unnecessary and politically motivated. If ministers persist in driving them through without regard for the damage they're causing, then industrial action would seem to be inevitable.

"What was clear at the meeting was that, across the union movement and the millions of people we represent, low and modestly paid workers are being blamed and punished for an economic crisis they did not cause.

"The government says it wants to negotiate but at the same time is pressing ahead with cuts to pensions, pay and public services. We are always prepared to try to reach agreement, but if the government proves unwilling to do the same then we will press ahead with our plans for industrial action.

"It is true that our members, who work in a wide variety of sectors, will not all face the same problems at the same and there is likely to be an urgent need for some to take action because they are under attack now.

"Our response needs to be flexible to respond to these circumstances and where unions' members face a more urgent threat to their living standards their responses will be co-ordinated.

"The youth protests taking place on Saturday in Manchester and London show how angry people are about being lied to by ministers and targeted for totally unnecessary and politically-motivated cuts.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with the students and other young people marching this weekend because they are showing us there is an alternative and we don't have to accept the destruction of our public services."