The group executive committee of the PCS civil service workers union in the the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last week voted to suspend the ballot on management’s offer over job cuts.
This vote was in response to the victimisation of PCS activists Darren Smith and Kate Byles, who face charges of gross misconduct for their activities in support of the union’s long running campaign against job losses.
The union’s recommendation to accept management’s offer was always dependant on charges being dropped against the individuals under threat. It would now appear that management’s promise of a “new climate of industrial relations” means that they will get worse!
PCS has obtained assurances from senior management that the union will receive a decision on the charges by 7 September. The group executive will meet on 8 September to consider the union’s next move.
Activists must plan members’ meetings for 7 September to organise protests should the victimisations go ahead.
Management’s show of bad faith is a further reason to reject the deal on offer. The ballot, if it goes ahead, will now take place between 8 and 27 September.
Branches should demand immediate escalation of the dispute, especially as the promised civil service wide action on job cuts appears to be getting further and further away.
In a dispute over the closure of the Peterlee call centre in County Durham, meetings of members in the other eight Employer Direct sites should be completed this week. Meetings in Telford and Caerffili were strongly in support of national strike action across the network.