PCS members are balloting against Coalition threats to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, defended from the Labour government with strike action as recently as March 2010. The ballot period ends on January 14.
This is not a ballot for industrial action; it is merely a ballot to reaffirm support for the union’s existing opposition to Government plans. This is hardly the approach one might hope for from what is allegedly one of Britain’s “fighting unions.”
AWL and Independent Left are voting yes, but are critical of the Left Unity leadership’s slack attitude to the “NUVOS” pension scheme members — those who have joined the Civil Service since 2007 and are therefore not entitled to the compensation that this dispute centres around. This is due to the leadership making compromises that preserved pension rights for existing workers but did not ensure that those rights continued for members of staff joining from that point onwards. The massive recruitment since then means that a vast swathe of staff being balloted are not affected in the same way by these threats but are largely “footnotes” in the PCS literature.
When challenged, the leadership say that they are looking to get “the best possible deal” for NUVOS members but refuse to add to their demands that all staff be brought up to the level they are campaigning to retain for longer-standing members of staff.
Unsurprisingly, those on the NUVOS scheme are largely a younger group of staff, and despite pressure from AWL members in the PCS Young Members Network, the National Young Members Committee has not used this opportunity to demand the leadership take on this important cause.