This leaflet is produced by PCS Left Unity and the PCS Democrats. Working together as the Democracy Alliance. We have, for the past 17 years, built a campaigning, democratic union that has fought hard to defend member’s interests in the face of relentless attacks.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been the key issue of 2020 and has brought about challenges that have forced us to radically review, and change, everything we do. Members and their families have faced huge issues and our reps and activists have been fantastic. Situations like these require strong leadership and the Democracy Alliance-led NEC has provided that leadership.
We are asking you to continue to support the Democracy AllianceNational Executive Committee (NEC) slate for 2021 by nominating our candidates at your Branch Annual General Meeting.
PCS members in the Home Office group working at Heathrow Airport have delivered a stunning vote in favour of strike action.
In a ballot closing on 29 January members voted by 96% to take strike action and 98% for action short of strike on a turnout of 68%.
This means that the results beat the 50% turnout threshold, but also crucially, the additional requirement of 40% total of those covered by the dispute voting in favour of action. This additional restrictive measure being imposed by the Tory anti-Trade Union Act on the basis that border security is deemed an “important public service”.
The dispute originates in Border Force management’s decision to impose a fixed shift roster at the airport, replacing the more flexible arrangements preceding it. The local Heathrow and West London Branch clearly set out reasons why the new rostering was unacceptable including how reduced flexibility would affect carers, work-life balance, disabled members and that these would be further exacerbated by compulsory midnight shift starts.
The PCS – Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Group has joined the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Group – for HM Courts and Tribunal Service in calling for the temporary closure of courts during lockdown.
If courts aren’t to close, the CPS Group has called for the withdrawal of all prosecutors, paralegals, court managers and administrators from physical deployment – deferring to virtual hearings as default. The respective Departmental management’s failure to meet these demands has led to the Union in both Groups moving to official industrial disputes.
The Lord Chief Justice’s recent announcement that all hearings should be held virtually over the Cloud Video Platform or CVP by default is with the exception of contested trials, where physical attendance of all parties and agencies is still expected. We have said that while we accept it’s more difficult to hold a trial virtually, it is possible and was in fact trialled in 2019 with some degree of success. We accept that the virtual attendance of witnesses may be problematic in terms of security, but PCS believes we can negotiate an agreed solution to this issue.