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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Spirit of 1868, performed by Banner Theatre

"Why not have a Congress of our own?" said Samuel Nicholson, President of the Manchester and Salford Trades Council, who sent out the call to the first ever Trades Union Congress in 1868.

A stirring dramatisation of some of the struggles, protests and moments of resistance that shaped our past and our present! This play has been commissioned by the Mechanics Centre Trust to celebrate the founding of the TUC and 150 years of union struggle.

Book your tickets for the June 2nd 7.30pm show today! Ticket website here.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Conference votes to defend civil service pensions scheme

PCS national conference resolved on 23 May 2018 to defend the civil service pension scheme and other public service pension schemes and stay at the forefront of the fight for security and dignity in older age. Debating motion A63, proposed by Ian Albert on behalf of the NEC, conference heard how the government’s plans to shift away from defined benefit schemes and to offer only defined contribution schemes was part of its continuing attacks on public sector pensions.

Ian told conference we must resist the attacks on people in later life. He said: “It’s to the credit of this union in the way that we have stood up in defence of pensions but it’s a battle that’s far from over. The fight for dignity in retirement must go on, for the many, not the few.”

Renewed threat

The motion was seconded by Bobby Young of Revenue and Custom Glasgow and Clyde HMRC and Valuation branch. The motion condemned the government’s pension policy that will over time bring about a renewed threat to the future of the core civil service pension scheme. The motion reaffirmed our intention to explore any campaigning or legal options to challenge the use of measures such as CPI which offer less protection against inflation and to place unfair constraints on the transitional protection relating to imposed changes which have cut pension benefits.

It was agreed that PCS must work with the TUC, other trade unions, and campaigning organisations such as the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) and Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) to:
  • secure substantial improvements to the state pension
  • cancel any increase to the state pension age above 65
  • compensate women who were affected by the speeding up of the move to a single pension age
  • put back in place a state backed scheme which can guarantee an underpinning pension of 70% of the living wage, an option for an affordable earnings related pension
  • extend the means by which our members can exercise the option to buy additional state pension to compensate for contracted out pension equivalent (COPE) deductions.
The motion, which was carried, also called for civil service pension administrator MyCSP to be brought back into the civil service.

Friday, 25 May 2018

TUC Manchester - volunteers for stewards requested

With Congress taking place in Manchester this year, the TUC is looking for North West trade unionists, or friends and family, to help steward during the four days.

Congress will run from Sunday 9 September 2018 until Wednesday 12 September 2018. They are looking for people with some experience of event stewarding, and also welcome others with less experience who will be given roles which reflect this. There will be briefings beforehand and they will also provide online training for stewards.

They need approximately 25 stewards, who will work on a rota during the following hours:
  • 10.00am until 7.00 pm on Sunday
  • 8.15 am until 6.00 pm on Monday and Tuesday
  • 8.15 am until 4.00 pm on Wednesday. 
Stewards are paid a disbursement equivalent to the Living Wage, which is subject to income tax and national insurance deductions. In addition lunch will be provided for those working. The TUC will also cover a small amount of expenses relating to travel to and from the venue each day.

If you know of people who would be interested in doing this, could you please ask them to contact Jay in the first instance on 0151 482 2710 or

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Tax fraud - the acceptable crime

To investigate every £100 million lost to fraud,
DWP employs 275 staff while HMRC employs one.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Manchester Arena bombing - one year on

There are several events taking across Manchester city centre to mark the first anniversary of the terror attack to mark a year since the most devastating night in the city’s history.

Last year’s terror attack at Manchester Arena killed 22 people, injured many more and left the country in mourning.

As a mark of respect to those who lost their lives in the atrocity, bells will ring out from St Ann’s Church, St Mary’s Catholic Church and the Town Hall at exactly 10.31pm this May 22 - the time of the attack.

The solemn moment will be one of several events to mark the first anniversary of the terror attack.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS strike 23-24 May.

UNISON members working at three hospitals in the North West are on course for industrial action over plans to outsource their jobs to a new company, set-up and owned by the NHS trust, in May. Members at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS foundation trust voted to reject the plans and ask the union for a strike ballot by 93% in a 79% turn-out.

Workers in catering, cleaning and portering will be on strike on for 48 hours on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 May.

Nearly 900 NHS staff who work in estates and facilities across the trust’s three hospitals are threatened by the plan to outsource them to the wholly owned subsidiary company, WWL Solutions. They are worried that their terms and conditions could be cut, that new starters will get inferior pay and pensions, and that they could all ultimately be moved to a private-sector company.

UNISON North West regional organiser Sean Gibson said the consultative ballot had shown staff members' "deep concern" at what he said were damaging proposals. "Good quality catering, cleaning and portering services are all crucial to the efficient operation of the hospitals and to the experience of patients. The staff performing these roles form a key part of the NHS team and they should remain in the direct employment of the Trust – not pushed away into an outsourced separate company.

"The bosses’ plans are designed to cut costs at the expense of staff and could lead to back door privatisation. We don’t want the likes of a Carillion or a Capita to be getting more involved in our NHS."

Supporters are invited to visit the picket lines at the three hospitals in Wigan, Wrightington, and Leigh.

Mostly from the UNISON website.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Show support to Acas conciliators striking this week

A strike by PCS members working as conciliators at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is set to go ahead on Friday (11 May).The members are striking to protect their jobs and services.

As there has been no movement on the issues from Acas management since the action short of strike began on 25 April, then regrettably PCS members are forced to go ahead with the planned one day strike on 11 May. PCS remains available for talks and we very much hope to be able to settle this dispute.

Our conciliator members are taking industrial action in a long-running dispute over the imposition of detrimental changes made by ACAS management. They have been taking action short of strike since 25 April and unless management improves its position, they will be taking further strike action on 6 and 7 June.

The imposed changes include the downgrading of conciliation work and unacceptable and unmanageable workloads. The imposition of a change programme, together with the excellent decision in 2017 to overturn fees for access to employment tribunals, have meant that conciliators are struggling.

Show your support
There is a rally to support the strikers and the PCS pay campaign from noon on Friday (11 May) at Piccadilly Gate in Manchester.

Donate to the strike fund: cheques made payable to the PCS BEIS hardship fund can be sent to the BEIS group treasurer at 9 Medina Way, Upper Stratton, Swindon, SN2 7NW or money can be transferred to Unity Trust bank account 20240992 sort code 60-83-01.

Send messages of support to:

Find out more about the dispute.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

NPC Campaign! Bulletin

Please find a link to the May 2018 issue of the National Pensioners Convention's Campaign! Bulletin here

They have also produced a print friendly version which reduces the amount of ink needed if you want to print the document. This can be found here.