Anti-union laws

A different PCS conference

The 2019 conference of PCS, the main civil service union, from 21-23 May in Brighton was the most open and interesting one in years. The great majority of motions on the Conference agenda were not controversial and nor should they be: the bulk of equality and terms and conditions motions should command support. However, on a number of issues the NEC found itself struggling to win over delegates.

Campaign renews NEU

Author

Duncan Morrison (assistant NEU secretary, Lewisham, in personal capacity)

National Education Union (NEU) districts across the country are gearing up for the indicative ballot to boycott high-stakes summative testing in primary schools, which will open on 4 June and close on 2 July. It is clear the campaign is having a hugely invigorating effect on many NEU districts.

PCS: close vote on pay

On the first day of the conference of the PCS civil service union in Brighton, 21 May, a composite backed by the Independent Left on pay was only narrowly defeated.

The debate centred round two emergency motions, one from the National Executive (NEC), and a composited backed both by the Independent Left and by the Socialist Party, which until recently dominated the union leadership. It went to a card vote. The NEC motion passed 62,000 to 60,000, so the alternative composite fell. The NEC motion could be summed up as “do the same again”.

Left initiatives at FBU conference

Author

Sacha Ismail

I attended the Fire Brigades Union conference in Blackpool, 15-17 May, as a visitor for the Free Our Unions campaign. The conference saw debate about the union’s industrial strategy as well as significant decisions and stances on a number of big political issues.

PCS: step back and think

Author

A civil servant

Our union, PCS, announced on 30 April that our pay ballot had failed to get the 50% turnout required by law. Since then the union leadership has announced its next step as "to hold a further statutory ballot for industrial action over pay at the earliest appropriate time".

Industrial news in brief

Author

John Moloney and Ollie Moore

The PCS union’s ballot for action on pay, which closed on 29 April, gained a turnout of 47.7%.

That is over 6% higher than in 2018, but still about 3,000 votes short of reaching the 50% threshold required under Tory anti-union laws. This has highlighted, yet again, the extreme unevenness of our organisation on the ground.

Labour revolt in Birmingham

Author

Jim Denham

Backbench Labour councillors in Birmingham have condemned their own leaders in a letter demanding that the council leaders “step back” from confrontation with two unions. The protesting councillors include several senior figures such as former council leader Albert Bore.

PCS Members: Vote yes to strike action on pay!

Author

Mike Chester

The PCS NEC has agreed to hold a re-ballot of civil service members this March. The ballot will run from the 18th of March to the 29th of April and will hopefully reach the 50% turnout required by the anti-union laws, falling 8% short of that threshold last year.

The amount of members balloted this year as part of this national ballot is slightly less at 120,000 to allow bargaining units that are not ‘core civil service’ - and therefore not subject to the same pay regime - to choose to opt-in to the pay campaign.

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