Full time officer pay: What sort of union movement do we want?

Buried at the back of what should be by now your dog-eared conference booklet you will find motion C345, dealing with full time officer pay and because Conference has discussed the issue within the last two years.  Leaving aside that the issue was discussed more than two years ago, 19th May 2010, we will return to the issue at next year’s conference. The critical point is this: should PCS pay salaries way in excess of what even the highest paid PCS members earn – in fact higher than the salaries paid to over 99% of full time civil servants? Should PCS pay a salary which is 400% of the salary earned by 128,220 civil servants as at March 2009? The PCS leadership would once have said “No!”  But not since their election some ten years ago!

A policy long held by the left in PCS and predecessor unions – that full time officers should be elected and paid wages linked to that of members – has seemingly been abandoned. We must ask ourselves the question – what sort of union movement so we want?  The Independent Left wants a trade union championing membership interests, run by members, and employing elected officials who are in touch with members and who are not lifted to some wonderful lifestyle by the fact of trade union employment.  This policy is not an optional extra and “voluntary donations” are not a substitute – the union needs a wage policy reflecting its philosophy, not a guilt trip on individuals’ sense of conscience (and if you look at the annual accounts you will see that virtually nothing is donated back by the most senior officials). We believe that every step that increases membership control over the union must be fought for.  So we will continue to insist that full time officers should be elected by the members and paid a wage that is more in line with that received by members.

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