Socialist Worker

We must defend PCS from the Tories' assault on our democracy

by Marianne Owens and Paul Williams PCS NEC (pc)
Issue No. 2438

The PCS is under attack. We are being subjected to a vicious assault from the Tories aimed at breaking our union.

Our members are also facing further increases in pension’s contributions, cuts, privatisation and attacks on our terms and conditions.

The Tories are cutting our facility time in order to prevent us from supporting our members.

The ending of the check off system is aimed at cutting off PCS finances, threatening the viability of the union.

The Home Office was the first major department to remove the check-off system from the end of 2014. The DWP have said they will end it on 31 March and now HMRC will follow them at the end of April.

They have also encouraged and instructed senior civil servants to help set up and recognise scab unions, most notably in the HMRC tax offices. 

There is a financial crisis in PCS and we have to deal with it. That means the campaign to get members onto direct debit has to be taken seriously by every activist.

But the suspension of group and executive elections as part of emergency measures to deal with the financial crisis is neither justified or helpful.


Membership involvement must be at the heart of any defence of our union. 

That is crucial at a time where scab unions will seize upon any opportunity to wrongly accuse us of being undemocratic.

We were both signatories to a recent statement on the financial crisis and union democracy. In just a few weeks 13 branches and 90 activists signed the statement. 

That statement asked the executive to reverse its decision on elections. However the executive have decided to continue with the suspension of elections.

We believe it would be futile to continue to take up further executive time with the same debate. We will now be taking this up again at conference.

We also asked that the executive embark on a national consultation over the financial crisis.

We are pleased that the executive have now set up a working group and agreed to consult branches and groups.

We urge our senior leadership to take that consultation process forward. Doing so will allow members and reps to understand fully the nature of the attacks we face.

Extended statement at

Some 2,000 court staff and prison service workers in Scotland, members of the PCS union, struck on Monday of this week in a dispute over pay.

They are demanding a 5 percent pay increase for public sector workers.

PCS union members at the National Gallery have voted to strike by over 93 percent on turnout of almost 62 percent.

Five days of strikes are planned but have still to be announced.

Details of how to support the workers at

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Article information

Tue 27 Jan 2015, 16:09 GMT
Issue No. 2438
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