Join the discussion – you can comment below each post

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Supporting RMT's campaign to save the guards

This motion was debated at the ARMS Merseyside AGM on 24 March:

"Merseyside ARMS deplores the refusal of Merseytravel to engage in constructive negotiations with the RMT and we continue to offer our full support to the union in their fight to keep guards on trains, including the decision for the next strike. We recognise for ourselves and our families that our trains need a safety critical role, to be carried out by a second person in control of our trains: the guard.

"We note the strident demands for the RMT not to disrupt Grand National day, but we believe any disruption will be caused by the intransigent stance of Merseytravel who could resolve the situation by immediately withdrawing their DO* proposal.

"The RMT fight is the fight of all who give priority to safety rather than delivering the highest profit to shareholders. Therefore, we condemn in the strongest of terms Merseytravel combined authority’s decision to press for driver only operation and deplore the role of Labour councillors in reaching that decision."

Passed unanimously.

* DO = driver only.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Day of action against benefit sanctions

This is taken from a Unite press release. PCS is supporting these actions and calls on members to do so as well.

Unite members across the North West urge government to stop cruel benefit sanctions causing destitution and misery to tens of thousands of families. Campaigners, members of Britain’s biggest union, Unite, will be protesting outside job centres across the North West tomorrow (Thursday 30 March) to reiterate their call for the government to stop its 'cruel and ineffective' benefit sanctions regime. This is part of a national day of action to stop benefit sanctions.

Last year an estimated total of 39,000 benefit claimants were sanctioned across the North West. Unite wants to highlight the shocking impact the government's benefit sanctions are having on individuals, driving people further into poverty, misery and even death.

Nationally, punitive sanctions have resulted in over 318,000 people having their welfare payments cut or stopped without warning in the last year, affecting thousands of children and dependant adults. Sanctions are given for reasons such as missing or being late for appointments with the job centre, or being too sick to 'actively seek work'.

North West regional actions:

Liverpool: Williamson Square Job Centre, Williamson Square, Liverpool City Centre - 11.00 to 1.30 pm.
Manchester: Protest outside Bolton DWP, Bolton Elizabeth House, 21 Back Spring Gardens, Bolton - 12.00 to 2.00 pm.
Ashton Job Centre, 101 Old Street, Ashton-Under-Lyne, OL6 6BJ - 10.00  to 12.00.
Openshaw Job Centre, 52 Cornwall Street, Gorton, Manchester, M11 -  9.00 to 10.00 am.
Rochdale Job Centre, 2 Fleece Street, Rochdale, OL16 1LT -  9.00 to 2.00 pm.
Salford Job Centre, Churchill Way, Paddington Close, Salford, M6 5PL - 9.00 to 10.30 am.
Eccles Job Centre, Sentinel House, Albert st, Eccles, M30 0NA - 10.30 to 12.00 noon.
Stockport Job Centre, Heron House, Wellington Street, Stockport, SK1 3AQ - 10.00 to 12.00 noon.
Wirral Community Branch has created a Thunderclap: click here 
New Brighton: 10.30 to 2.00 pm - Morrisons, Marine Point, Kings Parade. Click here.
Cumbria: Carlisle Job Centre, Broadacre House, 16 – 20 Lowther Street, Carlisle, CA3 8DA - 10.00 to 1.00 pm
Ellesmere Port: Ellesmere Port Job Centre, Port Arcades (Bus station entrance), E.Port, CH65 0AP - 12.00 to 3.00 pm.
Warrington: Warrington Job Centre, Mersey Street, Warrington, WA1 2BL - 11.00 to 1.00 pm 
Chester: Chester Job Centre, Chantry House, City Road, Chester, CH1 3AQ - 12.00 to 3.00 pm.
Preston: Preston Job Centre, Ringway, Preston - 10.00 to 1.00 pm.

A full list of regional activities is listed on the Unite website.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Solidarity with victims of Westminster attack

Our President and General Secretary released this statement today, 23 March 2017:

Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific attack and their families, those who have lost loved ones, friends and colleagues. We utterly condemn such sickening violence against innocent people.

We pay tribute and send our solidarity to the emergency services workers who put themselves in harm’s way to defend others, including the many PCS members who work in parliament, as well as MPs, their staff, civil servants and the public.

Our union stands proudly with the people of London, for peace and unity. As we reject the politics of hate and division that drive terrorist attacks like this, we also reject the prejudice and Islamophobia peddled by a violent minority in the wake of such incidents.

We urge our members to take part in any memorial events held in the coming days and weeks, to express their sympathy with the victims and their families but also to show we are strongest when we come together.

We also ask government departments, and employers around Westminster, to review their security procedures and ensure staff are fully aware they can receive counselling, and to provide all necessary support.

In solidarity and respect.

Mark Serwotka
General Secretary

Janice Godrich
National President

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The 47's campaign succeeded

Liverpool Councillor Walker reveals a profound misunderstanding of the English language when he describes the 47's defence of the city from the ravages of Thatcher in the 1980s as a 'spectacular failure' (Liverpool Echo 13.3.2017). He uses the only weapon of the now-discredited 'redundancy notice' distortion, so beloved of Lord Kinnock, in a feeble attempt to justify his claim. He seems blind to the £330m slashed from social provision and the further £90m of cuts he and his 'Labour', yes 'Labour', colleagues voted for in the last budget.

He fails to mention in his myopic re-writing of history that the 47 never made a single worker redundant. When we were removed from office, not via the ballot box but by Thatcher’s district auditor, 30000 worked for the council. That number is now less than 6000. In contrast to our record of building 5000 affordable council houses, his council have built zero. In contrast to his supine collaboration with the Tories in, for instance, slashing thousands of care packages for the elderly and admitting that services will virtually disappear from the city, we mounted a campaign of opposition to Thatcher and succeeded in winning resources worth £60m to the city. Far from it being the spectacular failure claimed by Mr Walker, our campaign, by any measure, was a spectacular success.

Tony Mulhearn

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thatcher plotted to subvert union democracy

A plot by the Thatcher regime to undermine a former civil service union leader has been unearthed in official papers. Downing Street planned to block John Macreadie from negotiations because of his political views, the Morning Star newspaper revealed recently.

Secret Cabinet Office papers from the time, now released to the national archives, show he was considered a "subversive". The news comes just weeks after the current Tory government’s Trade Union Act came into force, further restricting unions’ ability to represent members and take industrial action.

Macreadie served as deputy general secretary in one of our predecessor unions, CPSA, from 1986 until 1993 and died from a brain tumour in 2010 aged 64. Our president Janice Godrich wrote in his obituary: "His concentration on organisation, democratic transparency and accountability was an inspiration to many hundreds of union reps in CPSA."

Commenting on the revelations, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "John was a great trade unionist and a friend and, while not at all surprising, it is still shocking to see evidence of Thatcher’s government conspiring against him as part of its wider project to undermine democratic trade unions and reshape society."

Mark added that it would be tempting to think this kind of extreme reaction was in the past, but the parallels with today are obvious, with this Tory government seeking to complete Thatcher’s work through more anti-union legislation and restrictions.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Three ways to fight for gender equality

1. Sign the petition to demand justice for rape survivors in Tunisia
Like in many other countries in Africa and the Middle East, there is a law in Tunisia that allow charges against rapists to be dropped if they marry their attacker. This perpetuates the extremely dangerous mentality that blames the victim and assumes they are at fault for sexual assault.
Please sign here.

2. Participate in a Day Without Women
Today, women are showing the world how much they're needed. You can add your support by striking if possible, wearing red in solidarity and avoiding spending money.
Click here.

3. Support and share pro-women policies
To reach real equality, we're going to need to fight on all fronts to ensure women's rights are respected everywhere, including in their homes, their workplaces and their doctor's offices.

Take action to support:
Support equality - click here.

Be Bold For Change

8 March, International Womens' Day, the day we celebrate the many achievements of women and recognise that much still needs to be done. The fight for equality is all year round and your union, PCS, continues to put equality at the heart of everything we do.

Every person - women, men and non-binary people - can play a part in helping drive better outcomes for women. Through meaningful celebration and targeted bold action, we can all be responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender inclusive world.

The theme for International Women's Day (8 March) is Be Bold For Change. Whilst there have been positive gains in women's equality, the world is still very unequal. IWD celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing attention on areas requiring further action.

The government's cuts agenda has impacted on women disproportionately and set back past gains. Here in the UK women face an onslaught from a hostile Conservative government. Women are hit doubly hard by cuts in the name of austerity.

PCS encourages branches and women members to campaign together against this government’s brutal on-going measures against women. The fight for equality is all year round and affects us all. IWD is a single day that reminds us that we must continue the fight.

Find more on the PCS website.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

By-election results - ARMS motion

This emergency motion was proposed at the NW ARMS AGM on Wednesday 1 March by Tony Mulhearn and passed by the meeting.

North West ARMs welcomes the victory for Labour in Stoke but also recognises the setback in the Copeland by-election.

We believe that major factors in the Copeland result were:
  1. The wrecking intervention by the Mandelson and Blair who days before the election slandered Jeremy Corbyn, and the continuous sniping by Blairite MPs in the PLP.
  2. The Tory and right wing-inspired media distortions about Corbyn's policy on nuclear power. He has categorically stated that no nuclear industry worker will lose their jobs under a Corbyn-led Labour government.
  3. The Blairites' responsibility for the defeat shown by the decline in Labour's majority in Copeland which had declined from nearly 12000 in 1997 to 2564 in 2015.
We believe it essential that the treacherous Blairite MPs who continually undermine Corbyn should be held to account by the membership who should be empowered to deselect those MPs who sabotage his leadership, including Frank Field who has called for an end to the triple lock which would undermine the already inadequate state pension.

This government is determined to continue with its attacks on working class living standards, pensioners' entitlements, the NHS and the trade unions. We reaffirm our support for Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he represents and call for the fight to be stepped up to force the government to retreat.