Jobcentres in the pandemic

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 09:47

A jobcentre worker

The coronavirus crisis has radically changed the job roles and working environment in Jobcentres.

Department for Work and Pensions policy on self-isolation for permanent staff is relatively good, sending anyone with a relevant underlying health condition home for 12 weeks on full pay, although there are arguments with management about staff who live with vulnerable people still being asked to come in.

G4S staff are on full pay, despite significantly reduced hours because almost no security is needed now jobcentres have been closed to the public, and would be paid if they needed to self

The civil service in the crisis

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 07:46

John Moloney

We now have a civil-service wide agreement that all outsourced workers will be paid in full if their workplaces shut down, or they have to self isolate.

We are awaiting confirmation they will receive full sick pay as well. The union has to be active in policing the agreement.

There are agency staff in some government departments, doing processing and admin work, and the employer has agreed to furlough them on 80% pay if they have to self isolate etc. That’s better than nothing, as the risk was that their contracts would simply be terminated, but the union is pushing for those workers to be

Close to full pay

Published on: Mon, 30/03/2020 - 21:20

John Moloney

We think we’re close to an agreement with the Cabinet Office that all outsourced workers on the civil service estate will get full pay if they go off sick and self-isolation, where previously they’d only have had access to Statutory Sick Pay or in some cases they would not be paid at all.

We’ve won that agreement in some departments already, such as BEIS London, where the union is strong locally, and the outsourced workers have a recent history of struggle. But in other places the outsourced contractors have been holding out, so we want a central agreement with the employer to ensure all

Suspend all job cuts!

Published on: Wed, 25/03/2020 - 07:30

John Moloney

The labour movement needs to assert itself in the current crisis. Whilst being sensitive to what is happening around us, we cannot suspend our struggles and demands. The movement needs to raise big political demands, such as the demand for a complete moratorium on lay-offs and redundancies.

We’re raising that demand with the civil service. We know that the Department for Work and Pensions is about to announce yet more office closures and resultant redundancies. We have made it clear to them that if they don’t back down from that then we’ll be in dispute. Exactly what form that will take in the

PCS takes up Covid-19 issues

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 07:12

John Moloney

On Thursday 12 March, the union will be meeting the Cabinet Office to discuss workers’ rights in the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’ll be putting a number of demands to them, including the right for workers to walk off the job if they feel themselves to be at risk of infection, and that people with underlying health conditions are moved away from public-facing work.

We’re also demanding that the government ensures the companies to which it outsources various work pay full company sick pay from day one of any sickness, and that any outsourced workers who have to self-isolate are fully paid. If the

Vote Independent Left in PCS!

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 07:06

Elections for the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the civil service union PCS and for important departmental committees will soon be underway (nominations close 12 March, balloting will run from 16 April to 7 May).

Three sets of candidates will be standing: the PCS Independent Left (IL), Left Unity (LU), and the Broad Left Network (BLN).

The IL, which includes Workers’ Liberty, currently has three members on the NEC and successfully campaigned in 2019 for the election of long standing PCS activist John Moloney as Assistant General Secretary (AGS) on the basis of a workers’ candidate on a

Bullying is not just Rutnam

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 08:23

John Moloney

In the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), part of the Department for Transport, one of our leading reps, Paul Williams, is being targeted for compulsory redundancy.

We believe this is an attack on the union in the workplace. Paul's local branch is discussing a possible dispute and strike to resist that attack. The union will ensure there is a national focus on this campaign.

In wider politics, a light is being shone on the relationship between the government as an employer and the civil service. Clearly there are tensions at the top, in terms of how the people around Mr Cummings want

FCO strike in 4th week

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 08:19

Ollie Moor

Outsourced workers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are on a month-long strike from 3 to 28 February, for demands including company sick pay, reversal to cuts in hours, and recognition of their union, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS).

On 19 February, PCS activists and supporters held a flash demonstration outside the Waterloo offices of Interserve, the outsourced contractor which employs the FCO workers. Daily pickets have been held at the FCO’s Whitehall headquarters, with solidarity delegations from other unions attending.

PCS members working as outsourced cleaners

Lively pickets at FCO

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 08:55

John Moloney

The strike at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is rock solid. The strike will continue through to the end of February over our demand for union recognition.

There have been lively pickets every day, and we’ve had good support from those from other unions. The strike has become a significant feature on the labour movement map of London. Strikers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also attended the “Trade Union Bloc” on the 14 February youth climate strike, which was organised by our branch at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Interserve, the outsourced

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 09:13

Hugh Workman, Ollie Moore, Ed Whitby, Daniel Randall and David Pendletone

Sixth form colleges strike

The NEU’s (National Education Union’s) last strike day in sixth form colleges over funding and pay was 20 November last year. The next is 12 February.

In December the union executive and many NEU activists were, I think, hoping that an imminent Labour government would resolve the dispute in our favour.

The reason for the delay being around a month after most colleges came back is to build up momentum again after the election and Xmas break.

The upcoming three days (12 and 27 Feb, 10 March) are within the six month “shelf-life” of the first ballot, but at the same

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