PCS

Preparing a counter-offensive

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 09:14
Author

John Moloney

The key thing the union must consider now, in light of the general election, is how we prepare against a likely onslaught against both unions in general, and our members specifically as government workers.

Dominic Cummings has talked about a “radical reshaping” of the civil service. Whatever the precise detail of that reshaping will be, it’s inevitable that it will impact on our members.

It’s common under new governments that some departments will merge, and new ones may form; that’s normal practice, but a restructure in the hands of a government like this, and led by someone like Cummings,

PCS plans new drive

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 10:06
Author

John Moloney

Like all workers, civil servants are now facing at least five years of an extremely reactionary government. Workers’ rights and trade unionism will come under renewed assault, and as government workers we expect PCS will be in the frontline of that.

We even had members on strike on election day, with our members at Ealing tax office striking for half a day to demand the office remains open. They also struck on 5 December, and have now struck five times in total. Further strikes are planned in January if necessary.

The union will be launching a new organising and recruitment drive in 2020. We

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 08:38
Author

Duncan Morrison, Ollie Moore and Jay Dawkey

Lewisham members of the National Education Union (NEU) in primary schools are to take part in an indicative ballot over boycotting high stakes testing. The ballot will run from 6 January for two weeks.

There will be two questions on the ballot, one about “action short of strike” (i.e. the question about the boycott) and a second asking members if they will strike in the event of victimisation of members who take part.

The ballot information summarises the boycott as follows:

“Leadership and teacher members will refuse to administer the year 2 SATs, the year 6 SATs, the phonics test and the

No backlash in PCS

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 15:44
Author

John Moloney

Our intervention in this election is unprecedented in the history of PCS. In previous elections, the union has run a neutral campaign called “make your vote count”.

Some in the union were worried that our stance would provoke a negative response from members, and maybe even resignations from people who wanted the union to remain strictly apolitical, but this hasn’t materialised.

The previous line proceeded from the premise that all parties were objectively the same, and our job was simply to provide members with information about their various policies, especially those affecting the civil

PCS and the election

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 14:51
Author

John Moloney

John Moloney is assistant general secretary of PCS, writing here in a personal capacity.

PCS has produced a pamphlet making the case for voting Labour in England and Wales, which has been distributed to members. We don’t want the “vote Labour” position to be passive; the union is using its resources to mobilise members to get out and campaign. We’re targeting 40 seats in particular, either ones which have a large concentration of PCS members living in them, and/or where the Labour candidate has a particular connection to the union, for example two seats where the candidates are former PCS

Working with the “micro-unions”

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 12:28
Author

John Moloney

PCS has been making efforts to develop links with United Voices of the World (UVW) and the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), small unions not affiliated to the TUC which organise mainly precarious and migrant workers.

Unlike some other TUC unions, we are not hostile to UVW and IWGB. We see them as an inspiration, and allies, rather a threat. They’ve done something the “mainstream” labour movement should have done, but hasn’t: organise precarious and outsourced workers and empower them to take direct action.

We fully support their disputes, and have been promoting them to PCS

Three candidates, one rank and file

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 12:23
Author

A PCS activist

The election campaign for PCS general secretary has now started, and runs until 12 December.

Before it started, the union closed down the members’ Facebook page, leaving only the main union Facebook page, administered by head office staff. That page has churned out a weekly, sometimes daily, stream of videos of the current general secretary, Mark Serwotka, holding forth on various issues.

Closing down a potential forum for debate, and using the union’s official platforms for blatant electioneering, do not reflect well on Serwotka’s campaign for re-election.

Bev Laidlaw is standing as the

Vote Bev Laidlaw for PCS General Secretary

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:21

PCS has been run by a “broad left” alliance, made up of the Left Unity grouping working with some more right-wing elements, for over 15 years. In that time, after an initial increase, membership has haemorrhaged. In all major government departments, membership has fallen by between 10-50%.

The “broad left” narrative is essentially that, if you elect a “left-wing” leadership, you can simply put your trust in them and everything else will fall into place. The dominance of this narrative has led to a decline in workplace activism and militancy, and a decline in density across all bargaining units

Strikes at Virgin, West Midlands, South Western Railway

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 07:39
Author

Ollie Moore and Jay Dawkey

Rail union RMT has called strikes on Virgin Trains, West Midlands Trains, and South Western Railway (SWR).

On the latter, the union has named a calendar of strikes throughout November and December, which will see walkouts on 16, 23, and 30 November, and 7, 14, 21, and 28 December. West Midlands Trains is the latest Train Operating Company to see its workers plan industrial action over the imposition of Driver Only Operation (DOO).

On Virgin Trains, train managers, a grade of customer-facing train crew, on the West Coast franchise will strike on 19 November to demand the reinstatement of an

Not just a Labour vote

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 07:34
Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

PCS members at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will strike again on 7, 8, 11, and 12 November. These are members working in facilities management, employed by outsourced contractor Interserve.

We want Interserve to meet certain demands, including recognising the union; guaranteeing company sick pay; and reversing cuts in hours, but ultimately we want these workers to be employed directly on the same terms and conditions as all other civil servants.

We are also working closely with the United Voices of the World union, which has members in the Ministry of Justice and Royal Parks, which are

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