A step towards a rational Industrial action policy

For years, almost as a matter of political principle, the PCS leadership has refused to contemplate a levy or selective action. That position now appears to be changing.

At last week’s national conference the leadership signaled that it wanted to look seriously at a levy and paid targeted action (they still cannot bring themselves to say ‘selective’ action). Of course looking seriously at something doesn’t mean doing something but the signals were clear that a change appears to be on the way.

We have long campaigned for a levy and the use of selective/paid targeted action; not as a point of principle but as a matter of rationality; the levy and selective action are useful tools in our in action tool box, nothing more or less.

So why have the leadership resisted the rational use of these tools for so long. Mainly because we pushed for them. In the strange, sectarian world of the union our ideas are always suspect because agreeing to them is equated as supporting us.   

We have also have been accused of arguing for selective action over mass action. This is wrong. Our position has always been clear; selective action, funded by a levy is in addition to mass action, not a replacement for such action. Selective action can in fill between national actions; it maintains the pressure and pace of the campaign but it is not a replacement for national action.

To put it in the clearest possible terms; if there were a choice between mass action and selective action we would choose mass action. In reality, of course the PCS doesn’t have to choose between the two. It should do both.

So we welcome any change of tactics but note that if the leadership had taken up our ideas earlier (we have been agitating for a levy for years) then we would now have a functioning levy with a considerable war chest. As they say though, better late than never.

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