Socialist Worker

Civil servants

Issue No. 1807

THE RIGHT wing coup inside the PCS civil servants' union looks like it could be backfiring. Barry Reamsbottom, the outgoing general secretary, and his misnamed 'Moderate' supporters attempted at the end of May to depose Mark Serwotka, the elected general secretary.

They wanted to reinstate Reamsbottom as the general secretary. But both individual PCS members and union branches have sent some 500 messages of support to Mark Serwotka. Even the courts, which the right wing relied on to back their coup, have found against Reamsbottom.

First a judge found that the national executive meeting at which the Moderates tried to overturn Mark's election was unconstitutional, and declared it void. Then another court ruled that both sides in the dispute will have their costs covered by the union at the upcoming court case from Monday 15 July to Thursday 18 July.

Reamsbottom had hoped that Mark Serwotka and the union's left wing president Janice Godrich would be crushed by having to cover their own costs. The court case will decide on who runs the union. 'We can't rely on the judge to give us the verdict,' says Kevin Evans from London Left Unity. 'That's why we've organised a solidarity picket of the High Court for all the days of the trial.'

Campaign meetings are taking place across the country. Over 300 have met in London, 50 in Bristol and over 120 in Nottingham, where activists have booked a coach to lobby the court. Activists should ensure a big turnout at the High Court, on the Strand in central London on Monday 15 July.
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SOME 900 workers in the PCS at the British Library are balloting for strike action over pay. 'This is over last year's pay offer,' one library worker told Socialist Worker. There's been a lot of anger for a long time about what they're trying to do-downsizing, axing some areas. We've had a catalogue of cuts.'

This follows a one-day strike against £6.5 million worth of cuts two weeks ago by PCS and Prospect union members which closed the British Museum down.

STAFF AT Erdington social security office in Birmingham defied the job centre dress code for one day last week.

The arrogant imposition of the dress code without negotiations with our PCS union is part of a number of wider attacks. We were also protesting against the deteriorating staffing situation caused by underfunding. Staff are under tremendous pressure, and the dress code is adding to the bitterness.

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Sat 6 Jul 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1807
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