Martin Cavanagh DWP

For DWP Group President

I am seeking re-election as DWP Group President, a post I have been proud to hold since 2019, having previously served as vice-president for 15 years. I have been an activist within PCS, and its predecessor CPSA, for 30 years and held a variety of positions across every level of the union. Currently I am branch vice-chair and NW regional chair. I am also honoured to have sat on the National Executive Committee since 2016 and I am currently elected Deputy President of PCS.

It has been a privilege to serve you, the members of our union, over the past 3 decades and I believe I have shown the commitment and determination required to lead our group. 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 DWP group that has delivered for members, achieving the reintroduction of pay progression and a policy that gives protection from changes to working patterns, both benefitting thousands of members, as well as negotiating a fairer attendance policy, reducing warnings year on year, amongst our wins.

Understandably, the Covid pandemic has been a priority over the past year, and we are still in the midst of the greatest social and medical emergency this country has known. I have led negotiations with DWP on their response to this crisis and have worked tirelessly, alongside my comrades, in both talks with the department and to deliver our response to members. Our engagement with members has generated thousands of responses into group office throughout this period, and we have used that feedback to robustly argue our demands with DWP, as well as issue guidance to branches and members that protect those in the workplace.

Our determined stance in negotiations, buoyed by the support from members, has seen us force a number of concessions from the employer. Whilst there is much more to do, through negotiation, we now have more PCS members working safely from home than ever before; we negotiated the best school closure/childcare policy in the Civil Service focussed on the welfare of the child – and used by the TUC as a benchmark; we delivered a policy supporting members who care for vulnerable relatives during the pandemic; and, we have negotiated flexibility for members still in the workplace to change their working patterns as a safety measure.

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, so we can get thousands more of our members working from home, ensure those in workplaces are safe and protected, and we can campaign to deliver a fair pay rise for all our members across DWP regardless of their employment contract.

Left Unity will provide the strong and decisive leadership our group needs. We showed that when balloting members in Jobcentres and 21 UC service centres, during August, a traditionally bad time to ballot; when the urgency of the situation required a bold decision, we took one – following my recommendation – and won concessions for our members.

More can be won and I am confident, with your support, more will be.