The government have launched a sustained attack on civil servants and our union the PCS.
We face cuts in pay and pensions, job losses, privatisation, worse terms and conditions, intensified management bullying—and more.
The government’s decision to end Check Off is an attempt to financially and industrially paralyse the PCS. While we have to resist this, and campaign to switch every possible member to Direct Debit, we cannot allow the financial situation to paralyse our union. The best way to confront these attacks is by encouraging and organising resistance by our members. As PCS’s own history shows, unions grow when they fight back and show their relevance to workers.
At PCS conference in 2014 we were told that the finances of the union were secure. We were not told of the £7 million pension deficit nor the true scale of anticipated loss of subscription income from job cuts nor of the real financial threat check off ending posed to that financial security. We must now be told the true financial picture and be consulted over financial plans. Maximum unity is required in the face of difficult decisions and political attacks.
The decision to cancel the NEC elections this year is a mistake and will make it harder to sign up PCS members to direct debit because it will undermine their belief in the democratic and accountable nature of their union. The annual election of the NEC is a principle rule of PCS. At ADC 2014 in the debate about merger with UNITE, delegates clearly asserted the need to defend the union’s democratic processes. This is a serious situation but not an emergency. Our rules have to be followed or changed by conference or a membership ballot. In any case this decision should not have been taken without consultation with the branches. It is simply not acceptable for the executive alone to decide that it does not have to face re-election in the normal manner.
We call on the NEC to:
- Reverse its decision and to hold the NEC elections on a revised timetable which will allow those elected to GEC/NEC posts to take up their posts under the normal cycle of elections i.e. post PCS ADC.
- Launch an immediate national consultation on the financial crisis the union faces and all the options PCS members face. PCS should make as much financial information as possible available and give facilities for members to put forward alternatives to suspending elections. There should be no suspension of elections unless the majority of branches agree.
- Campaign hard on Pay and conditions to convince members to sign up for DD more quickly and to increase density among non members.
Statement launched by: Paul Williams, NEC (pc); Marianne Owens, NEC (pc); Jane Aitchison, DWP Leeds Branch Secretary (pc)