PCS

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...

PCS: Vote Independent Left

Elections for the National Executive and other posts in the PCS civil service workers’ union this year run from 22 April to 12 May. The Independent Left grouping in the union, which in 2019 got John Moloney elected assistant general secretary, is running Bev Laidlaw for union president, and a number of candidates for the National Executive and other national positions. It is running a slate in the Department of Work and Pensions group elections, and backing the PCS Rank and File slate in the Revenue and Customs (HMRC) group. The Independent Left platform includes: “a real living wage as a...

DVLA strike solid

The strike at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea, from 6-9 April, was very solid. Workers there were striking against having been forced to come into the physical workplace in far greater numbers than necessary. Around 2,000 workers have been made to come in, when during the first lockdown, numbers in the low hundreds were required on site to perform essential and emergency work only. We estimate that, of that 2,000 or so, around 1,400 joined the strike, so that’s a significant number and one that’s had a big impact on the work there. I think the employer was...

DVLA strikes 6-9 April

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike from 6-9 April. It’s clear from last-ditch talks that the bosses aren’t budging, so strikes will go ahead. The issue is workplace safety; far more workers than strictly necessary have been made to come into the workplace, leading to numerous Covid outbreaks. Our demand is for all workers to be sent home, and for an emergency working arrangement, overseen by union reps, to be agreed which ensures only emergency and essential work is done on-site. Longer term we want investment in equipment and software to...

John Moloney's column: DVLA action from 6 April

The union has been in last-ditch talks with bosses in the DVLA [Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency] about the Swansea complex, where our members have voted for strikes over safety concerns. Vastly more workers than necessary have been compelled to come into work, and there have been multiple Covid outbreaks. We held a members’ meeting on 18 March, and there is determination to go ahead with action. Many activists are pushing for strikes to be called as soon as possible. Therefore the union is going for strike action from 6 to 9 April 2021 and action short of strike action from 10 April 2021...

John Moloney: DVLA votes for action

Our members working at the DVLA complex in Swansea have voted by large majorities for industrial action - 71.6% for strikes, and 76.9% for action short of strikes - to win improvements to workplace safety. This workplace saw one of the worst Covid outbreaks in the UK, but the employer has forced over 2,000 staff to continue to come into work every day. The vast majority could and should be working from home; during the first lockdown only 250 staff were on site carrying out essential work. In the Ministry of Justice, our members working for outsourced contractor OCS are continuing a fight for...

PCS "Left Unity" split is finalised

On 26 February members of the civil service union PCS in HMRC (Revenue and Customs) voted overwhelmingly on an 82% turnout to accept a deal which sold terms and conditions for an average 13% pay-rise over three years. This result is not surprising. It is however unfortunate, and illustrates the level of desperation and pessimism on behalf of the membership who don’t have the confidence to win on pay unless they sell their conditions to do so. Following years of top-down leadership, secret negotiations, constant refusal to fight over issues such as office closures and a consequent declining...

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