Martin Cavanagh DWP

For DWP Group President 2022

I am seeking re-election as DWP Group President, a post I have been proud to hold the last 3 years, having previously served as vice-president for 15 years. I have been an activist within PCS, and its predecessor CPSA, for over 30 years, holding a variety of positions across every level of the union. As well as being DWP President of PCS I am currently, branch vice-chair and NW regional chair. It has also been a privilege to have sat on the National Executive since 2016, I am currently elected Deputy President of PCS.

It has been a genuine honour to serve you, the members of our union, over the past 3 decades and hope I have shown you I have the commitment and determination required to continue to lead the largest group in PCS. Throughout my union activism I have always believed PCS members not only deserve better working conditions, but that your pay and conditions of service should reflect the critical role you play within society; making your life outside of work easier for you and your families. I still believe those aspirations are not only deserved, but very much possible.

I am proud to have been part of the Left Unity leadership within this group that has delivered for members, achieving the reintroduction of pay progression and negotiating a policy that protects members from forced changes to working patterns, as well as negotiating a fairer attendance policy – which has seen warnings reduce year on year – amongst our gains for members.

Of course responding to the global pandemic has again been a priority over the past twelve months. I have continued to directly lead negotiations with DWP on their response to the greatest social and medical crisis this country has ever seen and, alongside my comrades, in both talks with DWP and delivering our response to members. Our engagement with you and branches throughout the group has helped form our agenda which we have robustly pursued with DWP, while providing critical advice to branches and members that have protected those in the workplace.

Our determined stance in negotiations, buoyed by the support from members, has seen us continue to force concessions from DWP. Whilst there is much more still to do, through negotiation we ensured the majority of PCS members were able to work safely from home during the pandemic; negotiated a school/childcare policy focussed on the welfare of the child – and was used by the TUC as a benchmark. Our leadership has also slowed down and, in many cases, stopped the drive to force members back to the workplace before it was safe and ensured the ongoing flexibility for members still in the workplace to change their working patterns.

I ask you to support myself and my Left Unity comrades in the group elections. Allow us to build on the work we have done on your behalf, securing thousands of permanent jobs, negotiating for outsourced workers to be brought in-house on DWP contracts, and ensuring DWP adhered to devolved government Covid guidance.

We not only fully support the current national campaign against the cost of living crisis, we are committed to playing a leading role in that campaign and the forthcoming ballot, our aim, to deliver a decent pay rise for all our members across DWP.

With me as President, Left Unity has provided the strong and decisive leadership our group needs throughout these difficult last two years. We have secured gains through being bold, including balloting members in Jobcentres and 21 UC service centres, and using legislation to protect members in the workplace – when members needed us to show leadership, we stepped up.

More can and must be won, and I am confident with your support it will be. Please support me for Group President and all my Left Unity comrades.