PCS: don't leave jobs as a makeweight issue

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2011 - 2:03

The national executive of the civil service union PCS will put an emergency motion to its conference on 18-20 May, seeking permission to ballot members over pensions, jobs and pay.

Delegates to the PCS conference are used to the Executive using the device of an emergency motion (on non-emergency matters) to dominate conference proceedings and to bypass and ignore normal branch motions put up in the normal manner.

That said, it is correct that members should be balloted on pensions, jobs and pay, particularly when we can co-ordinate such action with other unions.

30 June and after

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2011 - 12:14

Teachers, civil servants, and other workers are set to strike on 30 June against the coalition government’s increases in pension contributions, cuts in pension provision, and raising of the pension age.

At Easter (22-26 April) the National Union of Teachers conference voted to ballot union members for a series of strikes. Other big public service union conferences are coming up soon. The civil service union PCS meets in Brighton on 16-20 May. Its Executive has already decided to ballot members on strike action, soon enough for them to join NUT on 30 June.

"General strike" on 26 March demo

Submitted by Matthew on 30 March, 2011 - 12:27

There were hundreds of placards on the TUC anti-cuts demonstration with the words “General strike” — produced by the SWP and, in a new development, the Socialist Party.

Workers’ Liberty has criticised the SWP’s use of this slogan because it does not "follow the logic of the class struggle": it is not the right demand to take the movement forward from where it currently is. If the TUC did “call a general strike”, it would almost certainly flop.

Fight these pension cuts!

Submitted by Matthew on 16 March, 2011 - 6:14

John Hutton has produced his final report on the future of public sector pensions. But even before the report, according to the TUC, the value of these pensions had been reduced by 25 per cent due to a mix of negotiated changes and the government’s arbitrary switch to the Consumer Price Index as a measure of inflation.

But other Hutton recommendations will worsen the situation.

The recommendation to end final salary schemes and increase the Normal Pension Age (NPA) for all staff to 65 will impact badly on existing and future public servants.

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 9 March, 2011 - 2:38

A wildcat strike at a BP plant near Hull has forced management to back down on plans for unilateral redundancies.

The GMB and Unite members, opposed attempts by Redhall (an engineering construction contractor operating on the site) to impose redundancies that were outside the framework of the nationally-bargained collective agreement for the industry. 400 workers walked off the job and blocked the main road into the site, backing up rush-hour traffic.

Fighting after March 26th

Submitted by Matthew on 9 March, 2011 - 11:12

The labour movement is facing the most generalised attack on the working class in 20 years. Ministers and officials are routinely monitoring the union response and actively planning to defeat any resistance. If the unions do not respond with deep and extensive industrial action and a political alternative, then wages will be slashed, and everyone’s “social wage” of public services and benefits will be hollowed out and recast as a private-sector, parasitic, business opportunity.

Without industrial action and a political alternative, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost.

Scottish unions rally

Submitted by Matthew on 2 March, 2011 - 3:47

Around 300 people attended the 26 February Scottish TUC anti-cuts rally in Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre. It would be unfair to be overly critical of the event.

If anyone from another planet had been in the audience, for example, they would doubtless have found the glittering array of eight platform speakers all saying the same thing in not particularly different words an illuminating event.

DWP strike

Submitted by Matthew on 26 January, 2011 - 11:06

Nearly 3,000 civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions across seven sites struck on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 January.

Some of the offices in Bristol, the Chorlton district of Manchester, Glasgow, Makerfield near Wigan, Newport in south Wales, Norwich, and Sheffield, have already been set up as call centres. Others are due to transform to call centres in the near future.

Support Jobcentre Contact Centre strikes

Submitted by Matthew on 19 January, 2011 - 12:45

3,500 civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions will strike on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 January against dramatic changes to their work conditions.

The workers, members of the PCS union, are based at seven sites across the country — Bristol, the Chorlton district of Manchester, Glasgow, Makerfield, Newport, Norwich and Sheffield. The offices currently process benefit claims and deal with enquiries on the phone. Now management are “transforming” these sites into call centres.