The PCS union’s consultation over the future direction of action is fully underway.
It concerns its ongoing campaign over pensions, pay and jobs.
One thing that is certain is that members are experiencing a sustained attack on pay as well as terms and conditions.
At the same time they are embroiled in a bitter fight to defend the public services they provide.
The NEC is asking branches a number of questions, leading to a multitude of different responses. It would be better if the NEC had given a recommendation as to what type of action it believes would win.
One option branches are being asked to consider is selective action, with groups of members striking supported by a levy across the entire membership.
This may seem like an attractive “low cost” proposition. However, it can never be a substitute for action by all PCS members together.
Past experience has shown that selective action in the civil service has not been effective. We have had far more success when we have all been prepared to strike at the same time.
Many smaller work areas that PCS represents carry out vitally important public services, but their biggest strength lies in unity across the civil service.
We need to escalate action rather than scale it back.
If we fight after the summer we won’t be alone, and that should give us confidence.
Teachers across England and Wales plan to strike in the autumn. The CWU union has decided to ballot its members for strikes in Royal Mail over attacks linked to privatisation and firefighters are balloting for national action over pensions.
If at all possible we should coordinate our action with those unions and any others who are prepared to fight back now.