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

Pay claim for Brexit work

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 08:45
Author

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

The ongoing chaos around Brexit is having many detrimental impacts on PCS members’ working lives.

In Stratford DWP, hundreds of workers have been temporarily reallocated to Brexit-related work on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra). Members have said they want to ballot over this.

The concern is that DWP is looking to move work outside of London, where they don’t have to pay London weighting, so workers are worried that they might not get their DWP work back after the Defra project is finished.

The union will be submitting a pay claim to the government

Second victory at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 08:32
Author

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

On 21 October our members working for the contractor ISS at BEIS (the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) won a complete victory in their dispute.

This follows a victory for catering staff at BEIS, employed by another contractor, Aramark, on 4 October.

Now porters, security, post room, cleaners and receptionist staff have also won the London Living Wage, improved sick pay, and a number of other conditions.

The victories can be put down to one factor: all-out indefinite strike action, which isn’t that common these days.

At FCO (the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) we’ve

Building for a new pay ballot

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:49
Author

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

We are building towards a renewed dispute over pay and pensions for directly-employed civil servants in 2020.

Our 2019 conference voted for that, and some recent developments have given additional impetus. The government has told the union nationally that the civil service pension scheme is overfunded, meaning there’s more money coming in than going out.

This means it could absorb a 2% reduction in employee contributions, effectively a 2% pay rise. But the government has said they can’t do this, as they need the spare cash to pay for the fallout from the Fire Brigades Union’s victory in their

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:31
Author

Gerry Bates, Dom Sztyber, Darren Bedford and Ollie Moore

The ballot for general secretary of the civil service union PCS will open on 7 November and close on 12 December.

For the first time in 18 years, the sitting general secretary, Mark Serwotka, faces a challenge from the left.

Bev Laidlaw, the Independent Left candidate, got 17 branch nominations, topping the number of 15 required to get on the ballot paper.

Serwotka got 62 nominations. The candidate backed by the Socialist Party, Marion Lloyd, got 39.

The SP was a dominant force in the union, closely allied with Serwotka, until about a year and a half ago.

In the Assistant General Secretary

A Labour government without voting Labour?

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 09:06

The leadership of the civil service union PCS, the NEC [National Executive Committee] has decided that in the looming general election the union should call on members in England and Wales to vote Labour, on the grounds that a Labour government under the leadership and policies of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell is in the interests of PCS members.

In a different tack worthy of separate membership discussion, the NEC has also decided that in Scotland it should instead urge members “to vote to Get the Tories Out” while emphasising the necessity of a Corbyn-led UK government.

The decision to

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