Outsourced workers’ strikes spread

Published on: Wed, 12/06/2019 - 08:21

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

Outsourced workers’ disputes in the civil service are spreading. Cleaners, porters, and maintenance workers employed by the contractor Interserve at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office began a five day strike on 10 June.

The situation for the workers there is acute: Interserve hasn’t paid them since 28 April, plunging many of them into severe hardship. The union is setting up food banks on the picket lines. We’ve called for a day of labour movement solidarity there on 12 June, where we hope other union branches, Labour Parties, socialist groups, and others will support the picket line.


Sparking and spreading disputes

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 09:28

John Moloney, Assistant General Secretary-elect, Public and Commercial Services union, in a personal capacity

There are numerous disputes going on across the civil service at the moment. The Universal Credit dispute in Walsall is just one of them. That dispute focuses on workload, and there’s a feeling that other workers in similar situations across the union might take similar action. That opens up the potential for a wider dispute within the Department for Work and Pensions.

There are also disputes against the threatened closure of offices, such as the Ealing tax office, where workers have recently taken action. In HMRC and DWP the Government plans the mass closures of offices therefore it is

A different PCS conference

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 08:21

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.

The NEC was censured – an unprecedented event at PCS conference — over its inadequate response to the General Secretary, Mark Serwotka, co-signing a letter last July to the Morning Star. This

PCS leadership censured for evasions on trans rights

Published on: Fri, 24/05/2019 - 23:25

A conference delegate

Motion A21 at the 2019 conference of civil service union PCS dealt with the leadership's approach to trans rights. (See the motions document, p12.)

In 2017 and 2018 conference voted to support amendment of the Gender Recognition to facilitate self-identification; despite opposition from the NEC in 2017 these motions passed overwhelmingly.

This year A21 condemned and proposed censure of the NEC for its response and for General Secretary Mark Serwotka’s unilateral signatory of a letter published in the Morning Star, alongside numerous vehemently trans-exclusionary individuals, suggesting that


Published on: Wed, 22/05/2019 - 12:37

Left on PCS election

The victory in the PCS civil service union’s Assistant General Secretary (AGS) election for John Moloney, candidate of the Independent Left and a supporter of Workers’ Liberty, has met diverse responses from the left press.

Socialist Worker, which backed Lynn Henderson, was the first to respond. It emphasised the low turnout (it was low, but higher than last time) and claimed that “Moloney… is against the union’s national campaign for a 10 per cent pay rise”. Not true: John Moloney emphasised pay equality, but not at the expense of a general rise.

The Socialist Party,

PCS: close vote on pay

Published on: Wed, 22/05/2019 - 10:30

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”.

PCS’s latest attempt to beat the 50% turnout threshold

PCS Independent Left wins against “status quo” left

Published on: Wed, 15/05/2019 - 07:45

On Thursday 9 May, the PCS civil service union announced that Independent Left candidate John Moloney had won the election for Assistant General Secretary. John Moloney spoke to Solidarity.

I believe that standing on a worker’s wage, rather than taking the on-offer wage of £91k, was of decisive weight in the outcome. Certainly many people said it was the reason why they voted for me. Another thing that helped is that most of the voting took place during the strike ballot for pay, so reps were already taking to members. This might account for turnout increasing from 8% to over 10% this time —

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 08/05/2019 - 11:58

Zack, Tom Saff and Ollie Moore

Success for Nottingham Riders Network
On Tuesday 30 April, Deliveroo responded to the Nottingham Rider Network - IWGB's demand letter. Beyond a load of the usual fluff, it became clear that NRN-IWGB had made steps forward: winning a hiring freeze, and an agreement to meet.

Unsure as to whether to continue with a strike, the committee took the decision to riders more widely. The response was a decision to call off a strike. The limited victory is good and must be celebrated. But the lesson time and again from Deliveroo, and from employers more generally, is that you win improvements, that you

PCS: step back and think

Published on: Wed, 08/05/2019 - 11:33

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".

That proposal will go as an emergency motion to our conference on 21-23 May. To go for another push as soon as possible to edge us over the 50% mark would be wrong. We need to step back and think why we couldn't get even 50% of our membership to open an envelope, tick a box, and send back the form. The problems are not just

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2019 - 09:30

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.

There has to be a frank and honest discussion about how we can rebuild our organisation. Involving a full autopsy of our areas of strength and weakness. In the past, the suggestion that the union leadership should be open with members about which areas are stronger or weaker

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