Organising at the Nottingham Government Hub

Ian Lawther recruiting at the Nottingham hub

In Nottingham we now have a new Building for the Government Hub known as Unity Square. This building has HMRC, VOA, DVSA, DFE, Legal Aid, and CPS members now attending.

From the outset Left Unity members who have members in the building promised we would make sure that Unity Square lives up to its name, for all our PCS members.

Before the ballot opened leading reps met and decided to call an all reps meeting for all of our reps in our Branches. We agreed from that reps meeting to ensure we had leafleting on a regular basis and further that we had to involve reps and activists in that. So, before the current national ballot we started that process. We also ensured that we had a recruitment stall inside the building before our ballot started which was really successful.

We also formed a WhatsApp group for all Unity Square reps and activists so that we could keep in touch with each other. However, the WhatsApp has also proved to be a great organising tool. Leafleting rotas are being set up on this, and ideas on how we can engage members are being exchanged.

We have acted as one PCS in this Building irrespective of which Branch or Department we are in. That means encouraging people to vote but also recruiting non-members. As a result, the HMRC Branch have recruited near to 100 members, rep’s confidence has increased as they see other reps and activists involved, and it has created a real PCS presence and profile in the Government Hub.

Organising in all Government Hubs must be our goal, it’s easy to do it and not only PCS, but Left Unity in PCS, can and will grow in the climate we are creating.

When the ballot is finished, we have all said that we want to keep up the PCS profile. Fund raising and other events will be organised, my message is simple, don’t forget the Government Hubs, our members in them are the future of our Union.

In solidarity

Paul Williams

PCS DfT East Midlands Branch Secretary

PCS National Statutory Ballot – Vote! Vote! Vote! NOW!

The economy is going to hell in a handbasket, this is nothing new for low paid Civil Servants, however with threats of job cuts, government theft of our pensions over-contributions and slashing our recourse to compensation if our jobs are cut – we are now in a place where the political scum who badly run this country have left us with no alternative than to push back.

This isn’t a phrase that is bandied about a lot these days, but this is class war. Lockdown presented a massive acceleration of the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, to such an extent that now the coverage of people economically pressured by rising energy costs affects middle income wage earners, which means the vast majority of PCS members are feeling the cost-of living crisis bearing down in a crucible formed from the failure and broken promises of politicians to all the workers in the UK.

Against this background there are meetings going on, up and down the length of the UK, not only in PCS but nurses, teachers and many other public sector workers. Civil Servants in PCS are being consulted in a statutory postal ballot on taking action to defend our livelihoods over Pay, Jobs, Pensions and the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

Registers of Scotland Branch had a meeting last week (12 October 2022)

We’ve done a power of work in the run up to this ballot. In the indicative ballot the Branch achieved a 67% vote. Prior to the ballot we spoke directly with 98% of our members about their balloting address, contact details and the cost-of-living crisis.

The Branch wanted to tie the Ballot meeting into this years’ imminent pay offer from Management (Scottish Sector still dealing with 2021 – 2022 pay bargaining), however this was delayed so with less than 24 hrs notice we called a meeting to give a brief update on pay talks for 2022 (in general because specific talks were still in confidence) and the National Ballot.

Over 50% of our members turned out to the Microsoft Teams meeting!

The Branch do not mince our words in terms of our anger at the attacks on our members and political misery brought down on them by an economically inept Westminster Government:-

“The richest hundred people in the UK used to be millionaires, then multi-millionaires, now Billionaires. They are accumulating wealth they don’t generally spend in the economy from the poorest who spend everything they have, many on essentials, in the economy. So when a large part of the population have no money to spend in the economy, the economy does not recover and the financial model breaks. Thereafter anyone working to that model like the Bank of England putting up interest rates to cut borrowing when people are using credit cards to pay for energy or food – is making the crisis worse.

The best thing that can be done for the economy is to start redistributing the wealth towards the many who spend money in the economy. One of the ways to do this is pay rises in line with inflation and PCS is far from alone in campaigning for this…”

“Lately, every-time the Prime Minister is on the ropes, she indicates that she has saved everyone from Energy rises. This is a lie.

The Westminster Government resolution includes placing £120 Billion in debt, on UK domestic power users to be paid back over the next 20 years, leaving us paying overpriced energy bills for that time. The best metaphor I can find is that they haven’t exactly let most of us drown – but they are waterboarding us for the next 20 years. That does not fit my definition of “saving” us. Despite this intervention, people are in fear of switching on their heating, people will freeze to death this Winter and people will be queuing up at food banks who do not have enough food to meet demand.”

Members had questions, members had concerns about industrial action, but members did not flinch from the Branch recommendation to Vote YES in the ballot and pushing back. Members are not welcoming what lies before us – but with grim determination they are preparing themselves for a fight!

During the meeting, the Branch pointed out the importance informing PCS when you have cast your ballot. Immediately after the meeting our PCS hub stats rose from 5% to 30% of Branch members having voted and it has been rising steadily since.

I have been a union representative in the civil service for 39 years. This is the biggest test as a union and as the working peoples of the UK we have faced in that time. Now is the time to push back – VOTE YES IN THE PCS STATUTORY STRIKE BALLOT!