PCS

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...

New members for the union (John Moloney's column)

Our members in HMRC [Revenue and Customs] have voted overwhelmingly to accept a department-specific offer on pay and conditions. The National Executive Committee has decided that HMRC members therefore won’t be balloted as part of any national ballot for action to win better pay, against the Tories’ pay freeze, although they may be balloted as part of national disputes on other issues. Whilst I understand the logic of the NEC’s position, in my personal view I don’t believe that the HMRC deal fundamentally solves the real pay, terms and conditions problems that workers in that department face...

Civil service ballots close 5 and 11 March (John Moloney's column)

Our industrial action ballots at DLVA Swansea, and in 12 courts across the UK, are continuing. Our members there are balloting over workplace safety concerns. Those ballots close on 11 March and 5 March respectively. Our aim is to speak to every member who’s being balloted. Where reps can safely have those conversations in person, in the workplace, they will. But we’re also mounting a phone-banking operation to ensure every member is spoken to, to remind them about the ballot and the importance of voting. That effort will be run by activist volunteers, with support from union officials and...

DVLA ballot starts 18 February (John Moloney's column)

On 18 February, PCS will begin balloting our members at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea for strikes over health and safety concerns. Bosses there have forced workers to work in unsafe conditions, with more than 2,000 workers coming into work. There have been over 500 positive Covid cases at the site since September 2020. The ballot will close on 11 March. In the meantime, we have written to every member to remind them of their Section 44 rights to refuse unsafe work. We’re continuing to press the Department for Transport, the UK government, the Welsh...

Ballot coming in DVLA

We are moving towards a ballot of our members working at the DVLA [Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency] complex in Swansea. Safety measures there have been totally inadequate and thousands of people still being compelled to come into the workplace. This is unacceptable, a view shared by members who in a meeting on 2 February voted 80% for industrial action. Barring a complete climbdown by the employer, we’ll proceed with a ballot as quickly as possible given the legal restrictions and requirements around notice periods and so on. This is yet another example of how the anti-strike laws function...

Civil service: oppose the HMRC pay deal!

HMRC bosses have now announced their long-awaited pay "deal" to staff. The deal presented was the consequence of 15 months of secretive negotiations with union officers and full-timers. Not even the union’s democratically elected HMRC Group Executive Committee was given any details of the deal until late last month. The deal gives above inflationary pay rises in exchange for a bonfire of terms and conditions, including selling weekends to the employer, sacrificing holiday entitlement and ripping-up previous standing agreements protecting call centre workers, among other things. Despite a close...

Demands for DVLA (John Moloney's column)

PCS held an emergency meeting with senior managers from the Department for Transport on Friday 29 January, to discuss the situation at the DVLA [Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency] complex in Swansea. Thousands of workers are still being compelled to come into the workplace even though the safety measures are totally inadequate. We’ve demanded a massive reduction in the number of staff working in the offices; we want that brought down to the bare minimum. The union will meet the department again on 2 February and we’ll put their response to a virtual members’ meeting the following day. If...

DVLA scandal hits the press

The lack of robust Covid safety measures at DVLA Swansea, mentioned before in these columns, has now been picked up by the national press. The Department for Transport has been written to twice by the Labour government of Wales, which has demanded that the numbers of workers in the physical workplace be drastically reduced. PCS has repeatedly demanded that all workers are sent home — even those whose jobs don’t allow home working. It’s clearly not safe for people to be in the workplace at the moment, so people should be at home on full pay. Part of the background is a catastrophic strategic...

Clampdown forces Hong Kong union to disband

On 15 January 2021, the Hong Kong Civil Service Bureau (CSB), undoubtedly acting under the instruction of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her Chinese Communist Party masters, issued a circular to all government departments All 180,000 workers in these departments will be required to take an oath of loyalty to the government and its “basic law”. If they take that oath and are later seen to be acting “disloyally”, they can face immediate disciplinary action. Monitoring of their activities might also feed into their prosecution under the National Security Law. Many civil service workers, including...

Progress in DWP (John Moloney's column)

Our members continue to fight for safer working, especially in departments where workers continue to be in the physical workplace. We’re making some progress in the Department for Work and Pensions, where management have proposed an arrangement that would see 80% of workers working from home, with 20% coming into physical workplaces, hopefully on a rotating basis. That would be a stark reversal of management’s position in a department where up to 60% of workers have been working in physical workplaces. Bosses in DWP though are currently dragging their feet over implementing increased...

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