Socialist Worker

PCS union faces tough choices at conference

by Pete Jackson
Issue No. 2504

The win at the National Gallery last year shows what action can achieve

The win at the National Gallery last year shows what action can achieve (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Pressing issues face delegates at the PCS union conference this week.

In the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) the “employee deal” will be a key debate. The DWP group executive committee (GEC) agreed to recommend the deal by 17 to nine, but there is widespread opposition to it.

This deal sees a pay rise over four years, but it is dependent on accepting 8am to 8pm and Saturday working.

The DWP PCS group conference should vote to recommend rejection and begin a campaign, including an industrial action ballot. 

At the HM Revenue and Customs there is a threat of 150 compulsory redundancies, but the GEC has been slow organise nationwide resistance.

Conference needs to call a ballot for strike, as massive office closures will follow the compulsory redundancies.

The conference will address a number of other key issues, including the PCS’s attitude to Labour. Delegates should support the motions calling for the union to be independent of any political party.

Results of the elections to the PCS union’s national executive committee (NEC) were announced last week.

Twenty seven members of the PCS Left unity slate were elected, including Socialist Worker supporters Marianne Owens, Paul Williams and Candy Udwin. Three members of the Independent Left group were also elected.

Left unity candidate Janice Godrich was elected as president. Left Unity candidates Paula Brown, Cheryl Gelding, Kevin McHugh and John McInally took all four positions for deputy and vice presidents.

Candy told Socialist Worker, “The NEC faces big challenges, with the attacks from the government on all sides—including on the BIS, HMRC and DWP departments (see below).

“There are some things that show the way forward, such as the vote for strikes in BIS and the magnificent all-out strike by National Museum Wales workers. The support they have had points the way forward for a national fight.”

PCS union members at Department for Business Innovation and Skills offices were set to strike this Thursday against plans to close regional offices.

The move—part of the BIS2020 agenda—could see hundreds of workers lose their jobs.

Most strikers work at the BIS office in Sheffield, but there will also be strikes at offices in Warrington, Bristol and Darlington.

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