THE FIGHT for fair pay for civil and public servants stepped up a gear last week. PCS union reps and officials from across the country met to plan rallies in major towns and cities, coordinate future action and prepare a national pay claim for 2004.
Average pay for civil servants has fallen since national pay bargaining was ended ten years ago.
The key to countering this is to link every area where pay offers are being rejected into a strong, united campaign of action. Many speakers at last week's pay forum looked at how their own situation could be fed into a coordinated fight for national pay.
In previous years the right wing of the union accepted that a divided civil and public service was here to stay. The national executive was to meet this week to give the go-ahead for campaign meetings to be held in major towns and cities in November, starting with a rally in central London. If, as looks likely this year, a number of pay offers are rejected in different departments, industrial action will be coordinated. At the end of next month, all members in privatised and public areas will also be balloted on a national pay claim for 2004.
The priority now is for activists to call workplace meetings to build the rallies, using campaign materials available from PCS regional offices next week.
SUE BOND, PCS vice-president (personal capacity)
THE PCS civil servants' union group pay committee in the Department of Work and Pensions has rejected a pay offer from management.
The offer gave below inflation pay rises to the majority of members. Performance-related pay made up 20 percent of the rise and there was no progression up the pay scale.
The 85,000 union members in the department will now be balloted on the offer.
The union's group executive is set to meet next week to discuss the dispute. The key is to have the biggest possible vote to reject the deal and to start building towards industrial action to win better pay.
PHIL PARDOE, group executive committee (personal capacity)