Public & Commercial Services Union - trade union for civil servants
The Department of Work and Pensions PCS reps' meeting on 6 March discussed the action against the pay freeze. The exec's only proposal was to continue with action short of strike action, and to have a three-day strike after Easter. No strategy to win the dispute was outlined, and no further plans were mentioned. The GEC appears to believe that escalation of the dispute is simply a matter of taking people out on strike for more days than last time.
The strike action at the DWP and Driving Standards Agency on 16 and 17 February was a wonderful display of solidarity. It showed just how wrong the majority on the PCS Executive of the DWP was in calling off the strikes planned for the 29 and 30 January. With thousands of non-members also joining the union, there can be no doubting the desire of DWP members to win this dispute.
By Gerry Bates
Civil service workers staged their biggest strike for a decade on 16 and 17 February, stopping work in the Department of Work and Pensions and the Driving Standards Agency to demand better pay.
AWL bulletin for PCS pay dispute, 16 February 2004Unite across departments
Form a national strike committeeDownload as pdf.
By a civil servant
On 29 and 30 January four small departments in the civil service took strike action in support of pay claims: the Department of Constitutional Affairs, the Prison Service, the Home Office, and the Treasury Solicitor's Department.
This text can also be downloaded as a pdf here.
The decision of the Dept for Work and Pensions Group Executive Committee of the PCS union to suspend for two weeks the strike action planned for 29-30 January, and the work to rule due to follow, in order to allow discussions on the "improved" offer and the new PDS appraisal system beggars belief, especially when you look at the fine detail of the improved offer.
When you ran for general secretary of the PCS in 2000, and we worked closely with you on your campaign, a major plank was that you would take a worker's wage for the job, rather than the sort of fat-cat salary received by your predecessor Barry Reamsbottom.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), who are civil servants in the Department of Pensions and Works (DWP) and other government departments have voted to take strike action in support of their 2003 pay claim. They have rejected the offer made by the government.
In the recent ballot in our union, the PCS, ballot we saw huge majorities (around 92%) voting for the principle of a national pay claim for 2004 and to defend existing pension rights.
The ballot turn-out was unfortunately low (just over 21%). The idea of the national claim is that although devolved bargaining will still take place in the civil service's 172 bargaining units, in 2004 the union will lodge the national claim in each and every area.
PCS to ballot 100,000 members for strikes on payPCS members vote yes on pay, pensions, election of officials
By John Moloney, PCS National Executive
The whole trade union movement agrees that there is a pension crisis. Whether with the state pension (too low), private sector pensions (final salary schemes closing down) or public sector (extending the pension retirement age to 65) across the whole of society pension rights are under attack. These attacks, if successful, will mean more pensioners living in greater poverty for longer.
By John Moloney
The Treasury has imposed a pay cap on many parts of the Civil Service. They are saying that about 60 bargaining units (the Civil Service is divided into 173 different pay areas called bargaining units) should only get increases in their pay budgets of between 3.2% (if the mandarins think the bargaining unit is a "good" payer) to 3.7% (if they think the bargaining unit is a low payer).
By John Moloney, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) executive, personal capacity
A joint left/centre electoral slate has won the National Executive elections in the civil service union PCS. On a 14% turnout (down on last year) the slate won 34 seats to the right wing’s nine.
The result sees the end of a long period of ultra-right control in the union and should open the way for a concerted fightback. The union — probably uniquely in the trade union movement — now has a left-wing General Secretary (Mark Serwotka) and President and a left/centre National Executive.
By a PCS member
The Executive election in the civil service union PCS is now entering its final stages. The votes have to be in by noon on the 3 July. Given that the return envelope is second class, the effective last day to vote is 1 July.
A report from the CWU Conference and news from PCS, GMB, TGWU & FBU.CWU conference: two narrow defeats for the left
By a delegate
The postal and telecom workers union, the CWU, met on 1-6 June. The General Conference:
By Chris Hickey
The PCS, a civil service union and one of the largest TUC affiliates, will soon be holding one of the most critical National Executive (NEC) elections it will ever hold.
by a PCSU member
Following a hearing on 24 and 25 February, an employment tribunal in Manchester has ruled that the dress code imposed on staff in Jobcentre Plus in June 2002 is unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act. The case was brought by Matthew Thompson, an administration assistant at Stockport social security office, with the backing of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU).
Press statement issued on 11 March by the East London branch of the Public and Commercial Services Union in the Department of Work and Pensions
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU), which represents workers in Social Security and Jobcentre offices, have been told that they cannot campaign against the Government's war drive against Iraq. Posters advertising the Stop the War Coalition's activities have been forcibly removed by managers from Union notice boards. The Union has also been banned from issuing e-mails to its members on the subject of anti-war campaigning.
A Manchester civil servant hit the headlines recently when he took his employer - the Department for Work and Pensions - to an Employment Tribunal, under the Sex Discrimination Act, over whether or not men at his workplace should be forced to wear ties.
Members of the PCS civil service union have voted 31,322 to 18,926 in favour of annual (rather than two-yearly) elections for their union's National Executive, and 28,190 to 22,053 for annual (rather than two-yearly) union conferences. The ballot results were announced on 28 February.
It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected death of Rob Howard-Perkins. Rob died in December following a short illness. He was 35.
Rob joined the civil service after leaving school in 1987, working at Stepney and then City Social Security offices. He joined the union immediately and it was not long before he was playing an active role in CPSA Hackney and Tower Hamlets branch. Rob also served on the CPSA DHSS Section Executive Committee and was a member of both Socialist Caucus and the Broad Left. Outside the Civil Service Rob was active in the Labour Party, Socialist Organiser and several anti racist campaigns.
By Charlie McDonald, PCS DWP East London branch secretary
Over 1,000 PCS members across 18 locations in London are currently balloting for strike action in defence of victimised union rep, Chris Ford who has been sacked.
Survey: the civil serviceOver four percent but still low paid
By a civil servant
In the case of the firefighters the Government say that there can be no increase in the local authorities' pay budget above 4% unless there are significant (in their case drastic) changes in working practices.
Hundreds of Government scientists are to stage a 24-hour strike in a dispute over pay parity with other workers. Staff at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science will walk out next Wednesday. They believe their pay has fallen behind other staff at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by 10% since the department was established last year.
Chris Ford is secretary of the Central and West London Branch of the Public and Commercial Services Union in the Department for Work and Pensions. Along with fellow rep Phil Henry he is facing disciplinary proceeding and the threat of the sack.
Here Chris Ford explains the dispute.
By Mike Grayson
Members of the PCS in the British Library have embarked on a campaign of industrial action, over a pay claim that dates back to August 2001.
All three trade unions represented in the British Library (PCS, Prospect, & the FDA) have a pay settlement date of 1 August each year. In August last year, the Library's senior management approached unions with the following offer:
Solidarity 3/9 - 25th June 2002Council workers, firefighters, tube workers, train conductors, lecturers, air traffic controllers...
Unions start to fight back
Link the struggles!
Firefighters demonstrate. London local government workers, members of UNISON, strike for two days, and British Museum workers and South Bank University lecturers for one day each. The Tube union RMT prepares to ballot for renewed strike action about privatisation, and local government workers across the country - TGWU and GMB as well as UNISON - ballot for action in a national pay dispute distinct from the London weighting dispute they have struck over.
Hugh Lanning, the candidate defeated by Mark Serwotka for General Secretary of the civil servants' union PCS, spoke at a public rally in London on 19 June to support Mark against the "coup" which aims to stop him taking office.
From a leaflet published by the Socialist Alliance
Mark Serwotka was active and well-known as a socialist, both within his union and in broader fields, for many years before he was elected General Secretary. There was and is no secret about it. PCS members voted for him knowing who he is and what he stands for.
Their vote was part of a growing trend for trade unionism to revive after many hard years. Several other unions have elected leaders seen as standing for more vigorous trade unionism - Bob Crowe in the RMT, Mick Rix in ASLEF, Billy Hayes in the CWU, Paul Mackney in NATFHE, Tony Woodley in the TGWU. Right now Derek Simpson is challenging Ken Jackson in the AEEU on the same basis.
The coup in PCS is an attempt to stop that whole process, right across the trade union movement. Every trade unionist should help PCS members resist it.