PCS

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Peggy Carter, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

On Tuesday the 13 January the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) branch of the PCS union voted by an overwhelming majority to call strikes over pay.

The ICO has been lagging behind civil service pay for some time, with members’ salaries a grade behind what the rest of the civil service receive.

Information Commissioner’s Office staff vote to strike over pay; Woolwich hospital workers continue dispute; Lewisham teachers' ballot against Academies; NUT DGS result; Lambeth College deal; No to outsourcing at National Gallery.

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Stifled Story of the Month

Author: 

Harry Davies

On 20 January, The Guardian reported on academic research showing benefit sanctions push people into destitution, not jobs.

The 1.9 million benefit sanctions that were imposed between June 2011 and March 2014, stopping people from receiving jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and the 43% of those sanctioned subsequently ceasing to try to claim the benefit, did reduce the unemployment figures. No surprise there. Massaging unemployment figures is what every government since the 1980s has done. 

But only 20% of those who went off benefit said they had found work.

The government is applying wildly unfair and fantastic sanctions against millions of people. No one really knows what is happening to the most vulnerable people in society. But can we read about it or hear about it in the general press? Apparently not.

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PCS leadership suspend elections

The following (20 December) article comes from the website of the PCS activist network Independent Left, of which AWL members in the union are part. See the IL website for numerous other articles and updates on the crisis in PCS, and also the new PCS - Democracy Deferred blog. More on the campaign against this attack on trade union democracy soon.

PCS LEADERSHIP ATTACK OUR UNION'S DEMOCRACY!

Activists in the civil service union PCS are organising to oppose a move by their union's leadership to suspend elections for a year. What's going on?

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PCS leadership attacks union democracy

From the website of the PCS Independent Left.


In an unprecedented attack on the democracy of our union the rudderless leadership of PCS has announced the suspension of National and Group elections for possibly up to 12 months.

The NEC decision – by the controlling group which risibly calls itself the Democracy Alliance – was on the basis of:

The leadership of the PCS civil service union, many of them self-proclaimed Marxists, has suspended next year's elections.

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Employers discuss plans to undermine unions

In leaked documents from HMRC (the tax and customs part of the civil service) we see in the open how bosses try to “handle” unions.

In the document a senior manager writes:“...If we are unable to persuade the new GEC (the union body that runs the PCS union in HMRC) and full time officials to change their stance this suggests that the usual rules for engagement with a trade union will not work.”

The paper recommends “aiming to marginalise PCS by maintaining dialogue only to meet statutory minimum requirements.”

Leaked documents show how civil service bosses try to “handle” unions.

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Rank and file must control pay fight!

Author: 

Editorial

The pay of FTSE 100 directors has risen by 21% in the past year. Meanwhile average wage increases have been just 2%, 1.6% in the public sector, below price inflation of 2% (CPI) or 2.7% (RPI).

Over half of the wage rises in the last year were below RPI. In a sample survey of wage settlements for six million workers between August 2013 and August 2014, 13% faced a wage freeze and only 8.3% had a wage rise above 3%.

We are in the longest period of wage depression since records began, as a TUC report found on 12 October.

The top union officials have shown themselves inept and inadequate. Now the rank and file must organise to take control of the pay fight.

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Strike to end low pay

Author: 

Editorial

Public sector workers from health, local government and civil service will strike over pay in the week beginning 13 October.

Unison, GMB and Unite local government workers (and some school workers) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will strike on 14 October. PCS (the civil service union) will strike across Britain on 15 October. Members of the lecturers' union UCU in Further Education colleges in England have rejected their 1% pay offer by 85%. They will strike on 14 October, on the authority of a previous ballot.

Public sector workers from health, local government and civil service will strike over pay in the week beginning 13 October.

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Strike to beat low pay

Author: 

Editorial

Several big unions will strike over public sector pay on 13-14-15 October, but as yet are discussing no follow-up.

At present inter-union communication happens only between general secretaries, or not at all. There should be a joint meeting of the unions' elected executive committees to discuss further action.

Widely-spaced national one day strikes, by themselves, will not win on pay. Unions should use creative tactics to maximise impact, maximise member involvement, and minimise impact on their members' pay.

Strike in October; build connections across unions; press for a strategy to win!

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Strikes on 13, 14, 15 October

Author: 

Gemma Short

The ballot over NHS pay in Unison returned a yes vote with 68% in favour of strike action and 88% of action short of strike action.

Unison has called a four hour strike in all NHS services, from 7-11am on October 13. This is a different day to local government workers, who will be called out on October 14, and PCS (civil servants), who will be out on the 15th.

Both Unison and PCS now have a concrete demand for pay. In local government Unison is demanding whichever is higher out of a £1 per hour increase or the living wage. In the civil service PCS is demanding a £1200 or 5% pay increase.

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PCS to join October 14

Author: 

Gerry Bates

The civil service union PCS is almost certain to join the unions striking on 14 October over pay.

Local government workers who struck on 10 July are already set to strike again on 14 October. This time they may be joined by health workers also demanding pay rises.

Health workers’ wages have dropped in real terms every year since 2009, and between 12 and 15 percent since 2010.

This year 60% of workers are offered no rise, and others get one percent.

The civil service union PCS is almost certain to join the unions striking on 14 October over pay.

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