PCS

Victory at BEIS

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have won a hugely significant victory. Their sustained campaign of strikes, which has included an all-out, indefinite strike, has forced Aramark, one of the outsourced contractors, to concede the London Living Wage of £10.55. The dispute with ISS, the other contractor at BEIS, continues, but following the win with Aramark we are hopeful for a win over ISS as well. Now the task is to consolidate these gains by pushing for union recognition, not just at BEIS but across the civil service. PCS has written to...

Industrial news in brief

London Underground station workers at the east end of the District Line began industrial action from Friday 27 September, in a dispute over workplace safety. Workers will refuse to detrain or attend incidents alone, and will work from a place of safety, after their union, RMT, launched a campaign to demand safe staffing levels following a spike in antisocial behaviour and staff assaults. Workplace safety is becoming an increasingly acute issue on the Tube, after a serious assault on staff at West Ham station. Drivers in the RMT on four lines — Victoria, Central, Northern, and Jubilee — will...

Back Bev Laidlaw for PCS General Secretary!

The election for general secretary of the civil service union PCS is now well into the branch nomination phase. Nominations close on 14 October. Voting will run from 7 November to 12 December. There are three known candidates: Mark Serwotka, the existing General Secretary; Marion Lloyd, the candidate of the Socialist Party (SP), a current PCS NEC [National Executive] member Marion Lloyd; and Bev Laidlaw, candidate of the Independent Left (IL), and also a current NEC member. Bev Laidlaw has been a consistent opponent of the bombastic and failed PCS leadership. She has been elected to the NEC...

PCS to back Labour in England and Wales

The coming period will be a vital one for the PCS as sometime in the next few weeks the General Election will be called. My union now has a clear position on what we will say during that. The NEC [National Executive] has decided that in England and Wales we will be calling for a vote for the Labour Party. In Scotland we will emphasise the union’s position on supporting for a Corbyn-led Westminster government whilst recognising the particular political situation there, and so will urge members to vote to “Get the Tories out”. In Northern Ireland the Union will adopt a “make your vote count”...

PCS strikers and climate strike

PCS is supporting the 20 September climate strike. Our members on strike at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy in London and in HMRC on Merseyside will use their picket lines on that day to raise issues around climate change, and will march from their pickets to city centre mobilisations in support of the climate strike. We’ve encouraging branches to undertake as much activity as possible on the day and there is a wide range of activities planned across the country. We want to organise around climate change as a workplace issue, and are supporting our negotiating reps...

Bev Laidlaw for PCS General Secretary!

The nomination period for the post of General Secretary in the civil service trade union PCS has now opened. PCS branches should be organising to debate which candidate they wish to support in the actual elections, which will open on 7 November. Bev Laidlaw, a DWP rank and file activist and NEC member, will be contesting the election as a PCS Independent Left candidate. All serious socialists and PCS activists who yearn for a departure from the many years of failed, bombastic, top down bureaucratic leader leadership should campaign to nominate and vote for Bev. We should do so taking...

Industrial news in brief

UCU ballot opens University staff belonging to UCU are being balloted for strike action this autumn over pay equality, job security, workload and pay deflation. Working conditions in higher education have been deteriorating. The gender pay gap is over 15%; over 100,000 staff across the sector are on fixed-term contracts; academic staff work over 50 hours in a typical week; and in the past ten years pay has declined by 20% in real terms. In 2018 an impressive strike forced pre-92 universities to back down on massive pension cuts, but since then employers have refused to compromise and now they...

PCS says: join coup protests

PCS nationally has made a clear statement against Johnson’s coup, and is encouraging members to join protests. Our National Executive Committee (NEC) meets this week [starting 2 Sep], and will discuss the unfolding situation in more detail. Our conference policy on Brexit is to remain neutral on the question itself, which the NEC can’t overturn, but obviously we will need to think about how we respond, particularly as it’s PCS members’ labour that will be relied upon to a large extent to “deliver Brexit”. It may be during the NEC meeting itself that a general election is announced. We would...

The split in the Socialist Party

The Socialist Party (the group publishing The Socialist, and previously known as Militant) has split after a special congress on 21 July. So has the CWI, the international network of groups of which the SP was the pivot. SP delegates voted 173-35-0 to “refound” the Committee for a Workers’ International by calling an international conference in 2020. The congress also declared that people continuing to support the existing CWI would place themselves outside of Socialist Party membership, effectively expelling the minority in Britain who support the (apparent) majority internationally within...

PCS in rash of strikes

Our members working as cleaners and catering staff at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are continuing an all-out, indefinite strike to win living wages. Other outsourced workers at BEIS, including security guards and mailroom staff, have also struck, and they are discussing escalating the dispute by joining the indefinite strike. Cleaners at HMRC offices in Bootle and Liverpool are also striking for living wages, and are striking from 11-13 August. On 13 August, workers from BEIS visited Liverpool for a joint rally. Outsourced workers at the Foreign and...

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