PCS civil service workers’ union activists in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) met at the Left Unity socialist group conference in London last Saturday.
DWP group president Jane Aitchison opened the meeting with an update on the pay campaign.
Due to the pressure from well-supported strike action, DWP management have offered two concessions – abolition of the “must give a warning” part of the sickness absence procedure and abolition of the hated PDS appraisal system.
While these concessions are welcome they do not give members an inflation-proof pay deal.
The PCS group executive decided not to call action alongside local government workers on 16 and 17 July due to talks with management.
Socialist Worker supporters argued this was a missed opportunity to have a united fight against Gordon Brown’s pay curbs.
We said that what was now needed was to build for the planned national ballot of the union’s members by arguing that this was the next step in the campaign. We need to strike alongside any other public sector union taking action over this issue.
The PCS national executive meets in the first week of September to decide the final details of the pay campaign, with a ballot likely to be launched in mid-September.
If the ballot is successful, there is likely to be a 12-week programme of action across the civil service
The Left Unity meeting was also informed that national management were probably going to re-open the talks on the civil service compensation scheme in the coming weeks.
Staff can get compensation if they are sacked for medical reasons, take ill health retirement or take a redundancy package.
We may need to take industrial action to protect the scheme for the under 60s.
There was also a discussion around the talks on attendance management and the plans for the Child Support Agency.