PCS

Preparing to fight the pay freeze (John Moloney's column)

Our National Executive Committee (NEC) meets on 10 December, and will decide our strategy. I am sure industrial action will be considered. If it is, no doubt the union will approach other public sector unions and trying to build towards coordinated action, but we of course have to be prepared to go on our own if necessary. If the NEC say yes, then we could build towards action in the new year. There’s a specific process inside the civil service called the “pay remit”, where the Treasury issues guidance about how much money is available. That usually takes place in April, so that could be the...

Worries on testing (John Moloney's column)

The Group Executive Committee for our members in the Department of Transport are preparing plans for a possible ballot of driving instructors. Instructors have been told they’re expected to resume driving tests after lockdown, but we don’t think that’ll be safe. Similar discussions about a possible ballot are taking place amongst our members working in courts. The government wants to roll out mass testing to workers across a number of government departments, including DWP and Home Office. We support an expansion of testing, but there’s a lot that needs firming up. The tests they plan to use...

Workplace safety and lockdown (John Moloney's column)

Our Group Executive Committee in the Department for Work and Pensions is continuing to discuss our dispute with the DWP over workplace safety. That dispute and the threat of industrial action has wrung concessions from the bosses, including a commitment that individual Job Centre workers will have the final say over where a claimant is seen face to face. It now seems that the employer will make concessions over the other central issue in the dispute, the extension of Job Centre opening hours. Our reps and activists will discuss the proposals; the GEC will decide a way forward. In the...

Sick pay for outsourced workers (John Moloney's column)

PCS's “Dying for Sick Pay” campaign, demanding full sickness and isolation pay for all workers, is continuing. We’ve been applying political pressure, and have written to the government demanding that the right of all workers, regardless of contractual status, to full sick pay is written into agreements across the civil service on a permanent basis. MPs who work with the union have also raised this issue in Parliament. Crucially we’re also contacting every outsourced worker member to discuss the campaign with them and encourage them to get active in the union. Our reps working in Department...

John Moloney's column: Strike ballot in DWP

Around 800 workers in Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) job centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Merseyside, Sunderland, and Washington will be balloted for action over health and safety concerns. We’re also empowering members to take immediate action to refuse unsafe work using Section 44 of the 1996 Employment Rights Act, issuing members with pro forma letters they can use with their bosses. The ballot will likely begin on or around Tuesday 27 October, which will set up the possibility of industrial action in early November. Union pressure and the threat of a national ballot already secured...

Winning more in DWP (John Moloney's column)

Negotiations with bosses in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), over plans to extend job centre opening hours and increase the number of in-person interviews with claimants, are ongoing. The union position is clear; we believe these proposals will put both workers and claimants at risk. Further concessions have now been offered, including devolving some of the decision-making down to individual workers. This means DWP job coaches could make a decision about whether they need to see a claimant in person, or if they could speak to them remotely. That is a meaningful concession, although...

Concessions won in DWP (John Moloney's column)

Bosses in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have offered a number of concessions in our ongoing dispute about Job Centre opening hours and arrangements. The union’s Group Executive Committee for the DWP meets on Monday 5 October to consider these concessions and decide the next steps. If the GEC decides the offer isn’t adequate, the dispute will continue and likely move to a formal ballot for industrial action. We need a comprehensive settlement that covers the whole department, on an indefinite basis. There’s been some suggestion that decisions around opening times and arrangements...

Southbank workers fight 70% cuts

Southbank Centre [in London] is cutting its staff headcount by 70%, but this will only reduce the payroll by an estimated 38%. The lowest-paid staff with minimum hours contracts in the Visitor Experience and Ticketing teams are to be cut entirely, as there is no prospect of the Royal Festival Hall fully reopening to the public until April 2021. The Exhibition Hosts at the Hayward Gallery, who’ve spent the past month reopening the gallery in a new Covid-secure way, have also been told that they will be made redundant when the current exhibition closes on 31 October. In 2018-19, the Chief...

Scrap "conditionality"! (John Moloney's column)

The Group Executive Committee for our members in the Department for Work and Pensions met on Tuesday 22 September to discuss the results of a recent indicative ballot of Job Centre workers, which returned a big majority for industrial action against extended opening hours and other unsafe working conditions. Although a final decision has yet to be made, there are now active discussions about moving to a formal, statutory, ballot for action. The general picture, in terms of civil service bosses’ “back-to-the-office” push, has changed since new restrictions were brought in and the Prime Minister...

Statutory ballot in DWP? (John Moloney's column)

The consultative ballot of our members in Job Centres returned an overwhelming majority in favour of industrial action over safety concerns. The union's Group Executive Committee for the Department for Work and Pensions meets on Tuesday 22 September and will discuss whether to proceed to a formal, statutory ballot, which they're very likely to do. Anyone who was wavering on whether action is necessary is likely to have been galvanised by events in recent days. Management is increasing the number of claimants required to attend physical meetings at Job Centres, which is a huge risk given...

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