Justice for George Floyd

Artwork Zita Holbourne

One year ago, in the middle of an already traumatic year due to the pandemic, millions of people around the world, witnessed the horrific murder of George Floyd, with a global impact – played out on our screens in real time it was painful to watch and traumatising and for some it was too unbearable to watch. Personally, it took me several weeks before I felt able to watch it. It led to global protests by the Black Lives Matter movement who were campaigning not just for justice for George Floyd but for an end to the racism and related justice we face in every aspect of life, including here in the UK.

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A great election result, now let’s focus on continuing to build PCS

Positive Campaigning

Thank you to everyone who voted to elect a Democracy Alliance National Executive Committee. The fantastic result last week, which saw the election of the biggest Democracy Alliance majority in years, coupled with excellent results for Left Unity in the biggest groups, was a testament to the hard work carried out over the last period, alongside a positive campaign, in contrast to the negative campaigning and videos of some of our opponents.

Members have obviously responded well to that, and returned an excellent result for Left Unity members and supporters.

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DWP Safety Dispute – Management being Reckless and Irresponsible

Not the time for ‘busy job centres’

The decision by DWP to reintroduce mandatory face-to-face interviews in Jobcentres from 12 April 2021 in England and Wales, and from 26 April 2021 in Scotland, has been met with disbelief by many Work Coaches. The claim of a “Slow and Steady” approach of returning to face-to-face activity, that DWP repeatedly made to the union in discussions, lies in tatters as we now see a sprint, with DWP instructing our members to return to their Jobcentres and conduct mandatory face-to-face interviews with all 18-24-year old claimants. While the number of face-to-face interviews differs around the country, with some Work Coaches to carry out five and others up to fifteen per day, the direction the department is going in is clear to everyone…they want business as usual as soon as possible.

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Liverpool Free Palestine rally

On Saturday as in many other cities across the UK and internationally there was a Liverpool rally to protest the current bombing campaign in the Gaza strip, the latest in decades of hostilities and oppression of the Palestinian people, forced evictions from their own homes by illegal settlers, and a never ending death toll, as well as devastation of families, community and the physical and mental damage to survivors to the unending attacks.

I attended with comrades to show solidarity with the Palestinian people, and had been contacted by organisers when it was arranged to assist getting the word out.

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Protest for Palestine in Manchester

Thousands of people protested in Manchester on Saturday against the Israeli state’s latest attacks on Palestinians. Around 1500 people gathered for the event called by Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign bringing homemade placards and Palestinian flags to demand justice for the Palestinians and no forced evictions from Sheik Jarrah, East Jerusalem.

pic Rahman Kebbie

Campaigners had set up a group of tents to symbolise the refugee camps that have existed since the Nakba. There were banners and activists from NW PCS, Unison and the Trades Council. Speakers including local Labour MP Afzal Khan talked about decades of injustice the Palestinians have suffered. Many spoke about their personal experiences of dispossession, the pain of being born in refugee camps and never being able to go home. Other speakers talked about the Israeli arms factory in Greater Manchester and demanded that the British government stop selling arms and military equipment to Israel.

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Huge congratulations to all of those elected to the PCS National Executive Committee

Thank you to everyone who voted and to branches who campaigned hard, in a uncertain year due to the pandemic, to elect a Democracy Alliance NEC. Our campaign has been overwhelmingly positive, contrasted with the negative campaigning of some of our opponents, and members have obviously responded well to that. Commiserations with John Jamieson, our only candidate to narrowly miss out.

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What is going on at DVLA Swansea?

By Sarah Evans, PCS DVLA Swansea Branch Chair

Over the last 14 months, we have had 613 positive covid cases in the DVLA. We have had one death. These could have been avoided. Back in March last year, the DVLA worked with us to get numbers on site reduced to around 400 staff and non essential services scaled back to key workers only. This move was welcomed and supported by PCS. Then September came, and numbers onsite increased massively. We had the vulnerable staff coming back onsite, along with parents who has been off due to childcare, and that was also tied in to the usual spike of staff on site after the summer leave period.

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Newcastle Local DVLA solidarity meeting

On Thursday 6th May, the PCS Northern region held a solidarity rally for the DVLA strikers in Swansea. It was great to chair a meeting which gave an opportunity for our members and reps to hear from DVLA branch chair, Sarah Evans, ask questions about the dispute and the issues surrounding it, and to show their solidarity by sending messages of support.

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