PCS members have voted 67.6%, on a turnout of 33.6%, in favour of continuing the campaign of industrial action, but action is being frustrated by the union’s national leadership.
This ballot results comes as senior civil service management offer the union talks on better procedures for dealing with “surplus staff”. In addition, they have indicated that they may agree that issues such as hours and leave be determined at a civil service-wide level rather than locally as at present.
On 1 November, PCS’s Socialist Party-dominated National Executive decided that in light of the talks no national strike action should be taken this year. Given that a number of departments are on the verge of issuing compulsory redundancy notices, the union requested that during the period of talks no notices be issued. This request was unsurprisingly turned down. The other side never stops fighting the class struggle, even if we do!
With the emphasis off national action, the Executive is urging local Groups (the PCS industrial sector that carry out local bargaining) to take action.
We have warned in the past that asking the Groups to take action, supposedly in support of national aims, was a mistake. Things have now got worse with the local Groups now being asked to fight over what are in essence local issues. In other words the national campaign has come to a halt.