Privatisation

Building for a new pay ballot

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:49
Author

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

We are building towards a renewed dispute over pay and pensions for directly-employed civil servants in 2020.

Our 2019 conference voted for that, and some recent developments have given additional impetus. The government has told the union nationally that the civil service pension scheme is overfunded, meaning there’s more money coming in than going out.

This means it could absorb a 2% reduction in employee contributions, effectively a 2% pay rise. But the government has said they can’t do this, as they need the spare cash to pay for the fallout from the Fire Brigades Union’s victory in their

Victory at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:46
Author

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

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

Royal Mail eCourier strike

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 09:04
Author

Zack, IWGB activist and Deliveroo courier

Couriers working for eCourier, a Royal Mail Group subsidiary, will strike on 10 and 11 October.

IWGB — the union they and I are in — demands the couriers be put on worker contracts, be paid the London Living Wage after costs and that the company enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the union.

For years, eCourier — like Deliveroo and many other courier companies — has been unlawfully classifying pushbike, motorbike and van couriers as independent contractors, denying them their most basic employment rights, including the right to a guaranteed minimum wage and the right to holiday

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 08:52
Author

Ollie Moore, Duncan Morrison and Darren Bedford

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

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:39
Author

Ollie Moore, Jay Dawkey, Cath Fletcher and David Pendletone

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

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31
Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

PCS says: join coup protests

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 11:13
Author

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

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

Why the lights went out on 9 August

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 08:58
Author

Luke Hardy

On 9 August a series of blackouts affected more than one million homes, the rail and tube networks, hospitals, and traffic lights.

The long term issues that affect energy security are being made much worse by the fragmented, privatised and profit-hungry mess of the UK energy sector.

The buffer between supply on the network and demand has been squeezed. This squeeze is mainly down to how the energy market works.

The National Grid pays for energy in a virtual auction. They shell out more per unit to the generator companies when they need to meet peak demand. So generators can make money while

PCS in rash of strikes

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 07:40
Author

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

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

Land and the oligarchy

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 07:08
Author

John Cunningham

The appearance of two books on landownership in Britain, within the space of a year or
so, is yet another “flagging up” of the growing importance of the “land question” and a “wake-
up call” for the Left.

We have to take the question of the land on which we live – who owns it, how it is exploited,
how the overwhelming majority of us are excluded from it – much more seriously than we
have in the past.

Guy Shrubsole’s Who Owns England? (William Collins, 2019) gives us a long term overview of
how the land in England has been progressively exploited and expropriated by an obscenely
wealthy elite

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