Join the discussion – you can comment below each post

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

FDA poaching PCS grades

The FDA is desperately trying to attract PCS members at higher executive officer and senior executive officer grades. FDA is acting in clear contravention of TUC rules by effectively seeking to ‘poach’ members for whom PCS has bargaining and recognition rights and, conversely, seeking to recruit members for whom the FDA does not have bargaining rights.

In May this year the FDA decided, without any consultation with PCS, that they would begin this poaching exercise. PCS has a professional and managers' association for members in management grades.

The full story is on the PCS werbsite here.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Say no to a Thatcher museum

If the Tories want a museum to the most detested Prime Minister in modern history (although it is perhaps only a matter of time with Cameron), then they should fund it from their own bloated bank accounts. But preferably, not at all.

If you agree, please sign this petition.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Independent pay review for the Civil Service

The Civil Service used to have independent pay review. It was abolished in, I think, 1981 by the Thatcher regime because they didn't like the rises it had recommended. There has been no orderly system of determining Civil Service since then. Since 2010, many public sector salaries have been set by pay freezes and arbitrary caps. This petition proposes that an independent body be established to wholly review and set salaries to reflect inflation, housing cost rises, and market rates. This will bring them in line with MPs.

At the time of writing, it has 3850 signatures. At 10,000 signatures, government will respond to this petition, and at 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

To reach the petition, please click here.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

TUC march & rally to Tory Conference

As you may know, the Conservative Party conference will be taking place in Manchester from 4 to 7 October 2015, and the TUC are organising a national march and rally, which is set for Sunday 4 October 2015.

The PCS North West Regional Centre (NWRC) is exploring the provision of coaches to Manchester from Blackpool, Preston and Liverpool. Once arrangements for the demo have been confirmed, NWRC will formally request details of those definitely planning to attend the march and rally, via a further NW Briefing. In the meantime, NWRC is asking branches to consult their members and reps in order to gather these details and help facilitate the organisation for the event.

Details of coaches and how to book a seat will be posted here when they're available. Watch this space!

Greece and the 'caring capitalist' delusion

It is with more sorrow than anger that I think the action of Syriza’s leading team, around Alexi Tsipras, in accepting the demands of the Troika have betrayed the confidence of workers, pensioners, the unemployed and the poor, who voted by 70%-80% in favour of No in the working class neighbourhoods and cities. They have undermined the hopes of the anti-austerity movement all across Europe, who saw the stand of the Greek workers as a beacon.

Their belief that they could persuade the billionaire class in Europe that there was a better way on the basis of ‘good’ capitalism when the neo-liberal agenda is to crush every gain made by the working class since WWII was catastrophically false.

Syriza should have rejected all austerity and adopted a socialist programme. This would include refusal to pay the debt; controls on capital flows; for a state monopoly of foreign trade; the nationalisation of the banks and the commanding heights of the economy, under democratic workers' control and management; jobs for all, with a living wage, and free, quality health, education and welfare. If the result was a break with the neo-liberal EU, then so be it.

However the last word will be with the Greek working class. It is still not too late for them to tell Tsipras the answer is still NO.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

News and a petition from the PCS website

  • Michael Cook, chair of the PCS DfE Branch, was sacked under a performance management process within a year of his retirement - here.
  • PCS members working at Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales are being urged to vote yes in a ballot for strike action in a dispute over the removal of premium payments for working weekends or anti-social hours - here.
  • PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has recorded a video to stress the need for members at the DVLA contact centre to vote yes for action in a dispute over Saturday pay - here.

Attack on trade unions - sign the petition

If these proposed rules were appled to all ballots, we would be left with:
  • No police commissioners. 
  • No directly elected mayors. 
  • Almost no local councillors. 
  • Almost no MEPs. 
  • A seriously reduced House of Commons. 
Mark Serwotka makes it clear that the anti-trade union bill is an attack, not just on unions, but on society. The full text of his argument is here.

Sign the 38 degrees petition here.

Monday, 13 July 2015

PCS strikes updates

Universal Credit dispute:

The talks between PCS and Universal Credit (UC) management last week broke down without an agreement. As a result PCS has called for strike action on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st July 2015 at the Glasgow and Bolton service centres. More details here.

National Gallery dispute update:

PCS members at the National Gallery are set for another 6 days' strike action on 14, 15, 16, 20, 21 and 22 July, with more likely to follow if the gallery is unwilling to negotiate in good faith about PCS's alternative plan. More details here.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Budget 2015 - an assessment

You may find this assessment of the budget by Age UK of interest: click here.

The PCS response to the budget is here.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Budget Day Protests

Find a protest near you here.

Pensioners Parliament 2015

16 to 18 June 2015 in Blackpool - by Tony Mulhearn
  • March to Rally: speakers Care Workers Doncaster out for 90 days. Queen singer supported them received national recognition, eventually secured settlement by their action
  • The NHS and privatisation: speakers from Unite and GMB, Rhianna Hazam. Excellent presentations confirmed the wholesale assault on the NHS. Unite speaker particularly clear and incisive. 
  • Making Transport accessible. Good discussion with suggestions on improving transport network and making provision for elderly users. Conclusion that transport integration only possible under public ownership. 
  • One of the speakers highlighted an interesting statistic: in 2010 2.5million pensioners voted Tory and 3million voted Labour. 
  • In 2015 2.5m voted Labour and 3m voted Tory. 
  • Cameron guaranteed the triple lock where as Balls in 2013 stated he would cap pensions.
  • Perhaps we need to analyse that at a future meeting. 
Last Day: 
  • Where next after general election. CWU speakers Dave Ward and a speaker from a research organisation gave interesting speeches. Again a vigorous discussion. With the general feelings expressed that the pensioners movement is up for the struggle. Dot Gibson summed up the feelings of the gathering of about 800 people when she called for a united struggle against the attacks on pensioners services and also called for building the pensioners movement, particularly its finances as it is getting increasingly difficult to meet the financial demands of paying for the Parliament and the conference which will take place next year. 
  • Merseyside was well represented. Speakers at the sessions were myself, Julie, Terry, Ann and Margaret, who got in twice in one of the sessions. 
  • Altogether a worth-while Parliament with Merseyside making its mark.