PCS members have faced numerous attacks on their jobs, pay and working conditions over the last decade and before. Whatever your views on Brexit, one thing is clear, whatever ‘promises’ the Tories made to workers before the election, their majority in parliament will be used to further the agenda of their friends in big business and the city.
Already we see signs that the pre-election promises are being reneged on. Their promise, for example, that no one would be forced to sell their home to pay for social care has been relegated to ‘a belief’. We have seen the beginning of an offensive against trade unions by threats to ban industrial action on public transport, which has echoes of Margaret Thatcher’s ban on trade unions at GCHQ. And it is looking more likely that their so-called ban on Fracking was just an election ploy.
Of course it is likely that the Tories’ first set of policy announcements will contain some sweeteners coming immediately after the election. But the Tory big backers and donors will sit patiently as they know that Johnson has 5 years to repay them.
It is inevitable that this repayment must, and will, include attacks on our public sector workers and services. Therefore our priority is to use this time to prepare our defence, to strengthen our organisation, increase membership and build our branches to be the strongest that we can.
It is important that comrades have a well-earned rest over the festive period because it is clear that in the New Year we will face some massive challenges.
Our PCS campaign will include the three main strands:
Pay, where the Tories have clearly not budgeted to lift the 1% cap anytime soon.
Pensions, where our members are currently overpaying by 2% every month. The government has already stated that, following the brilliant FBU victory this week stating that over 6,000 firefighters are entitled to return to pre-2015 pension schemes and PCS will be quick to make our representations to Cabinet Office about the implications for our members’ schemes.
Civil Service Compensation Scheme, where the Cabinet Office previous confirmed that the 2010 terms would remain in place until at least 31 December 2019, our campaign has defended these terms since 2016 with hundreds of millions paid to workers covered by the scheme, but now, with an emboldened Tory government re-elected, it is clear that they could move to attempt to introduce detrimental terms.
On all three issues, we clearly need to prepare the ground for the battles ahead. Improved technology and use of the new branch app which have helped to deliver successful recent ballot results in HMRC Ealing and ATOS are important in delivering results and engaging our members over the issues that lie ahead.
Crucial to delivering the aims of our national campaign is a strong, effective, united leadership. I am honoured to be the Democracy Alliance candidate for President, leading a team of experienced, principled socialists and trade union activists. We have lead PCS through some difficult times and never hesitated to support members in the campaigns that matter to them.
That is why I am so pleased that Mark Serwotka was overwhelmingly re-elected as your General Secretary. I have worked closely with Mark, as President, for the last year and his commitment to PCS members in both the public, and private sector, is unwavering.
As we face, undoubtedly, difficult challenges ahead, PCS needs a united, focused and experienced national leadership with a strong, fighting left organisation – Left Unity, determined to defend both our members at work and the public services that we are proud to deliver. So, on behalf of the Left Unity National Committee, thank you for all of your hard work to get our candidates elected throughout the year and we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.