I have been privileged to serve our members on the PCS National Executive Committee for five years now, and to have been elected to represent our members as Vice President of DWP Group this last electoral year, having previously served as Assistant Secretary. I also continue in my role as Branch chair and Chair of the CMG Area Trade Union Side.
The last two years have been like no other in our lifetime, it is difficult to remember where one ends and the other starts. The pandemic has left the country in disarray, with communities and indeed our membership at times divided on safety measures, and whether the Coronavirus in fact, actually exists.
I have been proud to be a member of an NEC that has always erred on the side of caution, providing overarching guidance in line with the 5 tests for Covid-19 safe working, to aid reps in negotiating safety measures and protective policies in their respective Departments. We have supported the move to hybrid working whilst pressing on employers that, as this is a mass return to the workplace, the hybrid method should not be implemented until the number of Covid infection cases are at an absolute minimum for a lengthy, sustained period.
I am NEC delegate to the National Black Members Committee, and the National Disability Forum and am also Group Delegate to the National Women’s forum. As I am a member of the UK Civil Service Bargaining Committee also, I have been able to raise all of our member’s priority issues at that level. I have pressed for better for members in the equality strands, raising issues immediately they arise such as taking the outcomes of the clearly discriminatory Civil Service recruitment process to the Commission. I have asked the questions as to why only 98 Black graduates were employed out of 14,000 Black Applicants. We continue to await a response on that and continue to demand that the Commission states its commitment to equality.
I am a visible and vocal advocate for the rights of our members, and have spoken at online members meetings, highlighting the work that the union does on your behalf, and speaking on the detrimental impact of the real terms pay cuts we have endured, year on year. I fully supported the move to a consultative ballot on pay and pensions to test the mood for action.
The (anti) Trade Union Act is a very dangerous piece of legislation introduced to by a Tory led coalition to break the unions, its mandatory 50% voting threshold has already tied the hands of many. In order to remain strong and viable we must organise and build our membership, but we must also be confident that we can clear that threshold in an industrial action ballot. Losing is not an option.
I was therefore an avid supporter of the strategy to first survey members, to build on the positive response to the question on industrial action, and in turn to move to the consultative ballot on pay and to stop the theft of our pensions. Those careful planning steps are the best strategical way to build, giving us the greatest opportunity to win. And win we must!
Our members are in the middle of a cost of living crisis; unable to pay the bills, as the bills ever increase, using foodbanks and charity shops to feed and clothe their families, whilst all of the time we see wage rises for MP’s and billion pound tax breaks for bankers. There is much work for us to do, from bargaining for safety policy and equality rights, to campaigning to win on pay and pensions, and with your support, I am ready and committed to stepping up to it all.
I am a socialist and a member of Left unity and would ask that you vote for me in the upcoming national elections, along with all of the Democracy Alliance team named below.
Full Democracy Alliance nomination list