Things are hotting up in the PCS over the summer as the government tries to push civil servants back into offices and treats us with contempt over our pay rise.
With a national consultative ballot over industrial action in DWP, and a growing number of local strikes and disputes PCS members are fighting back.
Every PCS activist needs to be making plans to support these campaigns and organising meetings for BECs and members to prepare to step up the action.
Government hypocrisy over return to work
Despite parts of the country put back into lockdown, and daily predictions of a Coronavirus second wave, Boris Johnson tried to get a mass return to workplaces from 01 August.
As usual the Civil Service is singled out for attention, with press reports suggesting civil servants are lazy! These are our members who have succeeded in delivering key services either from their kitchen table, or having to continue to travel into work during the pandemic.
There is no practical reason for a return to offices where people have been working from home. This is an entirely political move by the government trying to show that the economy is working. The NEC will continue to oppose any unnecessary return to workplaces until our 5 tests are met.
Johnson has not succeeded in getting a mass return to offices so far, but we need to organise in our branches and groups so we are ready to resist when the government puts on the pressure.
DWP national ballot ups the ante!
In DWP the GEC has launched a consultative ballot starting on 17 August over the proposal to extend opening hours in offices at a time of pandemic, without our members’ legitimate health and safety concerns being taken seriously. https://www.pcs.org.uk/news/pcs-consultative-ballot-of-jobcentre%C2%A0and-universal-credit-workers-opens-17-august
This is a significant step to show that DWP members are prepared to stand up for themselves and the claimants, and we need to get all our members on board. Holding members meetings in car parks or on zoom will be key, as well as making sure every member is contacted.
NHS workers lead the pay fightback
NHS workers have been taking to the streets in large numbers over the government pay insult to key workers.
In PCS nearly 40,000 have shared our pay petition, but the next step is to get to 100,000 signatures for a parliamentary debate. https://www.pcs.org.uk/news/pcs-pay-petition-passes-37000-after-two-weeks
Each branch needs a plan for sharing the petition and using your branch app to check who has signed already. Let’s use this as part of the union’s plans to get organised in every workplace and to build our networks at every level of the union.
HMRC cleaners strike back
Liverpool cleaners are back on strike for the month of August, hopefully to be joined by those in Birmingham demanding the Living wage and proper sick pay.
* e-action to write to HMRC https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/hmrc-meet-with-pcs-members-for-fair-wages-and-conditions
* Strike fund donations via PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/pcscleanerstrike or to bank details: Ac name: PCS Liverpool/Bootle Campaign Sort code: 60-83-01 Ac number: 20415772
Support the strikes and protests in Culture
Around 1000 PCS members are threatened with redundancy in the culture and heritage sector and we are demanding that either the £1.5bn culture bail out is used to protect these lowest paid jobs or that the institutions join us in demanding more money from the government to save jobs.
After some large protests at Tate and a joint protest on the Southbank, Tate retail members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action and Southbank Centre members are holding an indicative strike vote. Further protests are planned.
* Tate strikes start on 18,19 21 and 22 August and then further extended action, picket lines till 10:30am. Rally on Tuesday 18 and Saturday 22nd 11:30 at Tate Modern
* Messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
* Donations to PCS Culture hardship fund Sort code 086001 Account no 20169002 or https://www.gofundme.com/f/tate-commerce-strike-fund
Action plan to prepare to step up the fightback
Have a BEC and plan members meetings to discuss all of these campaigns.
Don’t forget to include a discussion about ‘Black Lives Matter’ and how you are raising at work
Support the health workers fighting back over pay
Support PCS members on strike in HMRC and Culture and invite them to your meetings