Public & Commercial Services Union - trade union for civil servants
Fundamental attacks on civil service workers are coming thick and fast. We are entering a very different period compared to anything that has gone before.
A two-year public sector pay freeze for everybody except those earning less than £21,000 has a concession to the latter of a pay rise of “at least” £250. But no-one in our union, the PCS, is expecting many such members, if any, to get more than the stipulated sum and that will represent an increase significantly below the rate of inflation.
At this year's PCS civil service union conference, the Department of Communities and Local Government HQ and Department of Work and Pensions East London branches proposed the following motion:
The civil service union PCS has attacked the announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions to cut 8,000 staff working in Jobcentres.
In a press release, the union points out that the staff involved who are on fixed-term contracts were only hired last year with unemployment rising and as a direct result of the decision by Gordon Brown as Chancellor to slash 100,000 civil service jobs, including 30,000 in DWP.
The conference in May of the civil service workers' union PCS resolved on "a major call for joint action amongst public sector unions".
There are two problems with making this call "the answer" to cuts.
First, it cuts against more confident or militant unions taking action ahead of the rest.
Some battles can be won by sectional action. And united trade-union action is more likely to start by some unions giving a lead than by waiting until everyone is lined up to make the first step forward in perfect harmony.
A joint two-hour walkout was staged by PCS members working in the National Gallery and the National Gallery Company (a “front” retail company at the Gallery) in a protest over poverty pay on Thursday 13 May.
Gallery warders had previously voted overwhelmingly to reject a 2009 pay offer which does not even guarantee the London Living Wage (currently £7.60). Most workers are earning just below £15k, and this current action marks the continuation of an effective series of short walkouts which have temporarily closed most of the galleries in recent months.
PCS, by far the largest civil service trade union, met in conference in mid May, as the Tory-Liberal coalition was drawing up its year-on-year slash-and-burn plans for the public sector: huge reductions in jobs and services; privatisation; cuts in real wages; further attacks on pensions and severance terms.
Conference got through a record number of motions and was a credit to delegates. Yet only a delegate with rose-tinted glasses would have returned home with the belief that the current PCS leadership is geared up to meet the enormous challenges facing PCS members.
On Thursday 13th of May, PCS members at the National Gallery and the National Gallery shop went on a 2-hour walkout against low pay. This was not the first time that National Gallery staff had taken action against the employer, who is paying 60p an hour less than the London Living Wage - but it was the first time that staff at the National Gallery shop had taken action. The gallery was brought to a virtual standstill when around 70 staff walked out.
Under a Lib Dem-Tory coalition, we know that members of the Public and Commercial Services Union will be attacked even more viciously than we were under New Labour; indeed the whole of the public sector will be. It is against this background that the PCS will hold its national conference between 17 and 19 May.
On Budget Day, 24 March, the civil service union PCS took a third day of strike action over detrimental changes to redundancy and early retirement rights.
Overall this strike seems to have been more solidly supported than a two-day strike on the 8 and 9 May.
Despite the Government’s call to the RMT and Unite unions that they must get around the negotiating table to solve their disputes (with Network Rail and British Airways) they are not following their own advice over our dispute, and have refused further talks.
In the 24 March budget Chancellor Alistair Darling announced the first tranches of cuts to the public sector. But he did this by saying he wanted to save hundreds of millions of pounds through “improving efficiency”. What does this mean?
As with so many New Labour announcements, this efficiency drive recycled elements from previous initiatives.
On 10 March, Merseyside activists organised a protest outside the UK Border Agency in Liverpool to show solidarity with the women who were then on hunger strike at Yarls Wood detention centre near Bedford and to demand the closing of the detention centres, an end to deportations and the scrapping of immigration controls.
On 8-9 March the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) took strike action on 8-9 March over the Government’s proposals to reduce redundancy and early retirement payouts civil servants (proposals which come into force on the 1 April). The national union reports well over 100,000 members took action on each day.
The civil service workers' union PCS will strike again, over severance terms, on 24 March.
Further strike action was announced at the rally in London on the second day of PCS's two-day strike on the issue on 8-9 March.
The initial announcement was a strike on 19 March, but we understand that the actual date is more likely to be Budget Day, 24 March.
To download the bulletin, click on the attachment below.
Members of the civil service union PCS have voted decisively to take industrial action over redundancy and early retirement terms. National strikes will take place on Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 March.
The union has focused mainly on the adverse changes proposed to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS). But we mustn’t forget that tens of thousands of staff, members of the inferior Nuvos pension scheme, are only entitled to statutory minimum redundancy payments. This dispute is also about eliminating the two tiers of redundancy terms, and levelling up.
The civil service union PCS has announced that it is continuing to ballot its members over strike action, despite the announcement by the Cabinet Office that five unions have agreed to changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS). The ballot, which is scheduled to close on February 25, is covering around a quarter of a million civil service workers across all sectors, including Jobcentre staff, tax workers, court staff and driving examiners.
Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) leader Mark Serwotka has promised a strike campaign in the run-up to the general election aimed at causing “the most disruption possible” to the government.
PCS is balloting its entire membership on rolling action to oppose moves by the government to reduce civil servants'
redundancy payments by up to a third. For some low-paid workers, this could mean losing out on up to £20,000, and
the union argues that the move is the thin end of a wedge that will lead to massive job cuts.
The election for the General Secretary (GS) of the civil service union PCS has begun. AWL members in the PCS are recommending a vote for Mark Serwotka, the present incumbent. Our recommendation for such a vote is not because we are not uncritical of him; on the contrary.
Rob Bryson is contesting the post of General Secretary of the PCS (civil service workers') union against the current incumbent Mark Serwotka.
He is standing on a platform of:
The election for the PCS General Secretary (GS) position has begun, and AWL members in the PCS are recommending that members vote for Mark Serwotka, the present incumbent.
On 6 October Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, announced that he was writing to the public sector salary review bodies calling on them to “freeze the pay of 40,000 senior public servants in 2010-11. And he recommended that about 700,000 middle-ranking public servants, including doctors, dentists and prison officers, get a rise of between 0 per cent and 1 per cent”.
Later the same day shadow Chancellor George Osborne announced the Tories' pay freeze. In 2011 he wants all public sector workers, except for those earning less than £18,000 a year, to have their pay frozen.
Nominations for the post of General Secretary of the PCS civil service union has begun. Currently only two candidates are contesting the election; right winger Rob Bryson and the present incumbent, Mark Serwotka.
Over 30 people — mainly local workers but also some school and university students — attended a meeting on 2 July called by the Sheffield Department for Work and Pensions branch of the PCS trade union to discuss working-class anti-fascist campaigning.
If the Government puts out £1100 billion in cash, credit, and guarantees to the banks, as it has done, then someone is going to foot the bill. On current plans, both Tory and New Labour, it is public services and public service workers.
A lot of the £1100 billion has been guarantees given on the principle that, if the guarantees are in place, they will never be called on. But a lot is actual loans or actual cash, to buy shares in the banks.
Roundup of Union news in brief: Linamar, Tube, UCL, PCS
UNITE: You might think the leaders of a union whose members occupied the Visteon factories and took wildcat strike action in engineering construction would be pre-occupied with struggle.
John Moloney, an AWL member, won 11,547 votes in the PCS Deputy General Secretary election, and so was only narrowly beaten by Hugh Lanning with 13,755. It was a very high vote for John Moloney considering that he was backed only by the small Independent Left group within the union, while Lanning was backed by all the other groups which took a position, from the mainstream right over to the Socialist Party and SWP.
The national pay debacle shows that the PCS national leadership needs a radical shake up and I am the DGS candidate to deliver it.
PCS needs to elect me as DGS because it needs a DGS who:
The coming election for Deputy General Secretary of the civil service union PCS will be a choice between the old centre-right of the union and a candidate, AWL member John Moloney, backed by the Independent Left.
The PCS union “machine”, though on paper left wing — dominated by the Socialist Party — will be backing the centre-right candidate, Hugh Lanning.