Public sector pay battle 2007-8

Jobs fight: London Underground, media

Submitted by Anon on 9 April, 2009 - 2:40

As we go to press workers on London Underground are balloting over strike action to defend job cuts and pay.

London Underground is cutting more than a thousand jobs in administration grades. Transport for London is due to cut around three and a half thousand jobs over the next eighteen months.

At the same time London Underground have made an offer of a five-year pay deal — RPI plus one percent in the first year and then RPI only for the next four years. That is an effective pay cut.

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Stop these job cuts! Cut work hours, Expand public services!

Submitted by Anon on 23 November, 2008 - 11:06 Author: Gerry Bates

According to the bosses’ Confederation of British Industry unemployment will reach 2.9 million by 2010 — an unemployment rate of about 9 percent — up from 1.8 million now. That is nearly as high as the figure reached under the Tories in 1982 and 1992.

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Why the teachers didn’t strike

Submitted by Anon on 23 November, 2008 - 10:08 Author: Pat Murphy

In a recent ballot organised by the National Union of Teachers for discontinuous strike action, 29.7% of eligible members took part and of these 51.7% supported strike action with 48.3% voting against. At an Executive meeting on 6 November we were provided with regional and association (branch) breakdowns of results. In my opinion this made our decision a lot clearer. Together with all but three Executive members I voted to accept the recommendation that we do not proceed to call action. Here are the main reasons why:

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PCS leaders' explanation for calling off the 10 November strike

Submitted by martin on 10 November, 2008 - 3:13 Author: A PCS activist

This is the full text of the PCS leadership's explanation to union reps of why the 10 November strike was called off.

PCS suspends national industrial action over pay

The PCS national executive committee met this morning and following their receipt of a letter from Sir Gus O'Donnell, head of the home civil service, have decided to suspend the industrial action planned from Monday 10 November and the overtime ban proposed to commence on Tuesday 11 November.

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The SWP in PCS

Submitted by martin on 10 November, 2008 - 3:09 Author: A PCS activist

The Socialist Workers Party has three members on the NEC as part of the Left Unity slate – Sue Bond, one of the National Vice Presidents, Andy Reid, and Paul Williams.

Paul Williams is a serious trade union militant who AWL supporters suspect was placed on the NEC slate to stiffen the backbone of the SWP NEC members (for instance the then SWP NEC members, including Sue Bond, had supported the calling off the planned jobs, pay and pensions strike in 2005).

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PCS leaders' record on action for national pay

Submitted by martin on 10 November, 2008 - 3:05

In November 2004 PCS members struck in support of six demands, including national pay. Yet pay never featured in the propaganda for the dispute.

Similarly, in 2005, members were balloted on a number of demands – including jobs and pay - but were then told the planned strike, called off for the “two tier” pensions deal, was really only ever about pensions (and frankly pay again did not really feature in the membership bulletins).

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PCS leaders' record on national pay negotiations

Submitted by martin on 10 November, 2008 - 3:01 Author: A PCS activist

In 2005 the PCS leadership said, “We have persuaded the Government to introduce a fairer, more coherent pay system…” It was typical of the spin that has come to characterise the PCS’s would-be Marxist leadership.

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The politics of the PCS's dispute over national civil service pay

Submitted by martin on 10 November, 2008 - 2:58 Author: A PCS activist

The PCS national dispute is a necessary strike against a gratuitous government pay policy that is squeezing public sector workers at a time of sharply rising costs. It is a fight we have to win if civil servants are not to have their living standards slashed this year and in coming years.

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PCS backdown was a mistake

Submitted by martin on 10 November, 2008 - 2:21 Author: A PCS activist

The PCS National Executive Committee's decision to "suspend" the national civil service one day strike planned for Monday 10 November is at best a dreadful mistake. Or it may be a prelude to abandoning the action, possibly on the pretext of some relatively minor concession.


Submitted by patrick murphy on Fri, 21/11/2008 - 15:13

The most obvious contrast is that each union has decided not to proceed on the basis of entirely different rationales. The PCS decision is based on a claim that the employer has made a move or concession which should be examined before any further action is taken. The article here addresses and challenges that claim.
The NUT decision is not based on any such claim. Instead it is entirely to do with the ballot result which we judged did not provide a mandate for national action. I say 'we' because I am on the NEC and voted not to proceed. There is material elsewhere on this site and an article I wrote for the forthcoming issue of Solidarity which go through the detail. Any debate on whether the NUT Executive made the right decision has to be based on a different assessment of that result and what could have been delivered on the back of it. This is not the same discussion as that on the PCS decision though their recent ballot result wasn't too great either.

I discussed the result and whatever regional detail I had with comrades on the NUT left and within the AWL before coming to a decision. These were considered but not very long discussions because it wasn't really a difficult decision. Not the one we would have wanted to make, for sure, but given the facts not difficult to make. The SWP used the two people they now have on the NEC to propose that we proceed but they were very transparently not serious. They responded to none of the actual problems with the result, relied entirely on exhortation and moralism and have very noticably not wanted to make a big issue of it in the Union since. If I was in their position and believed that a left caucus which could have proceeded with a crucial pay strike (and almost certainly guaranteed that PCS did likewise)had pulled the plug unnecessarily I would want a bloody good row about it. The fact that they clearly don't speaks volumes for the lack of sincerity and seriousness in the posture they adopted.

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