If looks could kill... If “consultations” could crush, then civil service workers would already have a levelling-up of pay to across-the-service decent rates, and stopped the Government’s drastic job cuts.
After “consulting” its members at length over the summer about its barely-started campaign on jobs and pay, the civil service union PCS has announced that: “Feedback from the consultation meetings was that members clearly accept the need for further national action to resolve the dispute, alongside other unions if possible”.
So the PCS will call action? Alongside the postal workers, due to strike again this month? Not so fast! First it will “consult” yet again. PCS announces:
“The union has a legal mandate for industrial action following the national statutory ballot in January... [but] the National Executive Committee has decided that members should be consulted again through a national indicative ballot”.
PCS members in the Department of Work and Pensions (job centres and similar: one of the PCS's largest sections) have voted to reject their pay offer, but it is not yet clear what the union will do about it. The union’s official announcement is:
“Members... working for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have overwhelmingly rejected a below inflation pay offer... 76% of those voting rejected the three year pay deal which sees cost of living increases for longer serving staff members of 2% this year, 0% next year and 1% in the final year”. The vote was 26,935 to reject the deal, and 8,635 to accept, on a 43% turnout.
The repeated hesitation at the top means that there is something of a “wait and see” feeling in the rank and file. But the DWP vote suggests that the ranks of the PCS would mobilise in strength given a serious lead for a sustained fight on jobs and pay, not just scattered token actions.