By a Civil Servant
PCS members in the DWP, Prison Services, Treasury Solicitors and the Office of National Statistics are still fighting pay disputes arising from the 2003 pay round, with no resolution in sight. Yet these disputes are just a forerunner of what could happen in the 2004 pay round.
The union has now submitted a national pay claim for 2004 (the first national pay claim since delegated bargaining began), and therefore the whole of the national union should be mobilising to fight for pay this year.
We say "should be" and not "will be", as the National Executive (NEC) elections begin shortly. If the hard-right wing group, the "Moderates", win, then there will be no national dimension, just a capitulation to the Government (the reasons being given that "we cannot win" and we must think of the general election next year).
Even without a national claim, the Treasury is saying that all 229 bargaining units in the Civil Service will be limited in the amount of money they can spend this year on pay. Therefore, with or without a national dimension, it is likely that there will be many more disputes this year than before (it is highly unlikely that the Moderates could keep a lid on all disputes).
To have the national dimension, it is vitally important that the Left Unity-led slate for the NEC be elected.
That is not to say we will be uncritical of that NEC if it is re-elected. It is a slate which combines left, centre and right-wing elements (the centre-right are grouped together in the PCS Democrats).
The leading element of the "left" in the PCS is the Socialist Party (and the SP in PCS, is not the same as the SP itself) and former SP members. Both they and the "Democrats" are conservative and cautious in their approach. Yet, given the present political make-up of the PCS, only such an NEC will pursue a national dimension to pay.
Therefore, vote for the Left Unity-led slate, get them in, and then fight for national action over national pay.