PCS

The union and outsourcing (John Moloney's column)

Following their victory in the recent dispute, our members in Royal Parks are preparing further demands, including over a range of safety issues, to submit to management. Throughout my time as Assistant General Secretary I’ve worked support and empower outsourced workers in the civil service to organise and take action. We’ve increased our membership by hundreds. We have a number of targets for next year, including winning company-wide bargaining with Mitie. This company holds ten major outsourced contracts in the civil service; we currently have recognition in seven. We want an agreement that...

Safe routes for refugees! Fight for free movement!

Many hundreds joined the protest at the Home Office initiated by Sisters Uncut on 25 November, to mourn and denounce the deaths of 27 refugees in the Channel the day before. Hundreds joined a Stand Up to Racism rally at Downing Street on the 27th. There have been protests around the country. The PCS civil service union has joined a legal challenge to the Tories’s “pushback” policy, and says: “If the government does not abandon this appalling approach, we will pursue all legal avenues including a judicial review... PCS will not rule out all forms of industrial action, including disrupting the...

Royal Parks: an interim advance (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced cleaners and attendants in the Royal Parks have voted to accept a settlement in their dispute. A vote was held at a meeting on 18 November, with a follow-up check of members who couldn’t attend. It vastly improves sick pay arrangements, and enhances holiday pay. It also recognises the union, and several workers have come forward to be elected as reps. Although a clear victory, this is an interim settlement. There are many outstanding issues and other demands that workers want to press for, including issues regarding their contracts, health and safety and other matters. Another key...

Near victory in Royal Parks dispute

Last week I wrote that one of our members in the Royal Parks dispute was facing victimisation. Until that threat was lifted we couldn’t settle the dispute. The good news is that the threat of dismissal has now been withdrawn, and the member’s probation period has been extended, which is the outcome he was looking for. That means we can move forward with discussion around the employer’s offer. That offer includes the recognition of PCS, significant enhancement of sick pay arrangements, and improvements in many contractual terms. We’ll discuss the offer with members at a meeting on Thursday 18...

Sticking issue in Royal Parks

In my last column, I reported that the month-long strike by outsourced workers in Royal Parks had forced a major concession, with Just Ask, the outsourced contractor, proposing to increase sick pay entitlement from six days to a maximum of three months, depending on length of service. But they wanted a whole range of differentials to apply, so that only certain workers would get the increased sick pay. They have now backed down from that, so length of service will be the only variable affecting sick pay entitlement. Obviously, the ideal would be maximum entitlement for all workers from day one...

A union policy on climate (John Moloney's column)

I spoke at an online members’ meeting about the union’s climate change activity on Tuesday 26 October. Although much of the discussion understandably focused on the upcoming COP26 conference, I was keen to emphasise that the real fight for us is after COP, both industrially, in terms of organising around decarbonisation demands in civil service workplaces, and politically, in terms of pressuring the government to take radical action. The government has no serious plan, either as an employer, for the decarbonisation of government workplaces, or at societal level for meeting its targets for...

Signs of movement at Royal Parks

Our outsourced worker members in Royal Parks, who have been on strike for the entirety of October, may be close to a breakthrough in their dispute. The latest communication we’ve received from their employer, the outsourced contractor Just Ask, suggests they are prepared to agree a recognition agreement. They have also abandoned their initial plans for job cuts of up to one third, although obviously we will push them to commit to no cuts at all. We are hopeful for progress on other issues, such as sick pay, too. Throughout the dispute, we have sought ways to pressure not only Just Ask but...

Green reps for PCS?

One of my briefs as Assistant General Secretary is to oversee the union’s work on climate change. With the COP26 conference coming up, we’re mobilising members to attend demonstrations and take part in actions around the country. We also want to use COP as impetus to build up a network of “green reps” throughout the union, with at least one in every branch. Longer term, we want to push for employers to recognise these reps. Climate change can’t be treated as an issue “out there”, it’s something we have to organise around as an industrial issue in our own workplaces. I want to see green reps...

Make Labour councils back Royal Parks workers (John Moloney's column)

Royal Parks workers’ month-long strike is continuing. There’s no new offer from the outsourced contractor yet; we think they are talking to Royal Parks, to see how much license they’ll be given to resolve the dispute. The contractor says any changes to staffing levels that result from the restructure we’re opposing will be “minimal”, but that could mean almost anything. Until we get something firm then the dispute will continue. We want to increase the pressure on Royal Parks centrally. We’re writing directly to the Board of Trustees, which includes two leaders of Labour councils, Camden and...

Royal Parks on strike (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced cleaners and attendants in London’s Royal Parks are striking throughout October. We began the strike with a successful rally on 1 October. We have more workers participating in the strike this time, which is a good sign, especially as a month-long strike is a significant escalation. We’ve had good support from across the labour movement. Jeremy Corbyn and Andy McDonald sent solidarity greetings, and John McDonnell addressed the strike rally. Fundraising is particularly important, as we want to ensure strike pay at a level as close as possible to workers’ full wages. We don’t want to...

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