PCS

Making some ground (John Moloney's column)

PCS annual delegate conference took place digitally on 13-14 June. Workers’ Liberty activists, as part of the Independent Left network, supported various motions to the conference. A motion on full-time officials’ pay, which talked about exploring ways to bring officers’ pay more closely in line with the average pay of members, was defeated, but by a margin which suggests some ground has been made in this debate since last discussed. Similarly, a proposal for the election of all officials was also defeated, but the motion on union structure that was passed included language about exploring...

DVLA bosses pull back from deal

Our members in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea struck again on 2-6 June, in their ongoing dispute to win improved workplace safety, and a greater say for workers in determining those measures. Immediately prior to the last strike, the local branch felt that an acceptable deal had been on the table. But at the eleventh hour, two elements of that deal — additional cash payments and additional annual leave compensation for workers who’ve been compelled to work at the physical workplace during the pandemic — were unilaterally withdrawn. We don’t know where the...

PCS: we still need to transform the union

On a woefully low turnout of just 7.5% of members the ruling Left Unity (LU) group has secured a comprehensive victory in the elections for the National Executive (NEC) of the PCS civil service workers’ union (results announced 14 May). PCS will continue to be run by the same LU faction that has failed the membership for 18 years, but now minus the Socialist Party which was for most of those years central to that leadership and its failings. For many years the LU leadership has presided over defeat and retreat. It has lurched from inertia to belated, poorly prepared campaigns that treated the...

Resisting parks job cuts

Following a meeting with the United Voices of the World union (UVW), we’ll be issuing a letter to the outsourced contractor which employs cleaners in the Royal Parks. Currently workers are assigned to specific parks, but the contractor wants to move to a mobile workforce model. UVW estimates that this could lead to job cuts of up to 25%. In particular, all existing women workers can’t drive, so they’d be particularly at risk as workers would now be expected to drive between parks as part of the mobile workforce model. Our letter will make a series of demands. The key one is that they commit to...

DVLA bosses back off for now (John Moloney's column)

Bosses at the Swansea Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), where our members have struck twice against a lack of workplace safety, threatened to increase the number of workers on site even further from 17 May. Under the threat of a week-long strike starting the 17th, though, they have backed off. They have this week to reach a deal with us; if they don’t, then we have served notice for another strike for the entire week beginning Monday 24 May. Previously our strikes have only involved those workers who were being made to work from the physical workplace. This time it’ll involve...

DVLA: who controls? (John Moloney's column)

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea struck again from 4-8 May. The strike was very successful, and built on the previous strike. Our picture is that more workers participated this time, so it’s good to see the strike is growing. The call centre, which is a key part of the complex, had more people striking than last time. The workers want to strike again, so the union will announce further dates soon. After that we are looking at ongoing selective action, with rolling strikes across different parts of the complex, aimed at maximising impact. The dispute...

Covid: workers' controls still needed (John Moloney's column)

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike again from 4-8 May to demand improvements to safety. The branch is committed to taking further action if our demands are not met. Although the Covid numbers are trending the right way, we don’t know when a third wave could hit, how severe it could be, or what might happen with new variants. We need agreements in place now to ensure there aren’t more workers on site than necessary. At its heart this is a fight for a form of workers’ control. We want to ensure a direct say for workers’ representatives in...

Activist agenda: Safe and Equal calls protest

In the week 1-7 May, Safe and Equal and the PCS civil service workers’ union are jointly calling for protests demanding full sick pay for all. This is a central demand for controlling the spread of Covid by supporting workers to self-isolate when they should. They want people to use a poster at work places, in union meetings, with their friends and family, to show support, and to share pictures online of gatherings with the poster. Other actions proposed are raising the issue in your union branch, or helping another workplace or group of workers if yours already has full sick pay. The Uyghur...

DVLA strikes again 4-8 May (John Moloney's column)

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike again from 4-8 May. We’re continuing to fight there over the fact our members are being compelled to come into the workplace, in a way we believe is unsafe. The employer has made some concessions in negotiations, but these relate mainly to changes in the medium-term future, around greater provision for homeworking. We need action right now — centrally for all on-site working, except for emergency and absolutely essential work, to be suspended. We’re also demanding agreements that will give the union direct...

Uniting in-house and outsourced

In the last week, I’ve had discussions with the United Voices of the World union (UVW), who organise outsourced workers in some parts of the civil service, including the Royal Parks. We’ve worked closely with them in the past; improving the way PCS approaches the organising of outsourced workers has been a central focus of my time in office so far, and strengthening our relationship with UVW has been part of that. Royal Parks is re-tendering its outsourced facilities management contract, and there’s a threat to cleaners’ jobs, which could see cuts of around 50%. UVW members have previously...

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