Merger with UNITE by 1 January 2015

That is what PCS leaders are hoping for. A motion setting out a plan for a members ballot and special conference this year will be put to ADC 2014. The aim will be a merger by the beginning of next year.

So should there be a link up with UNITE?

The Independent Left (IL) has yet to discuss whether we will back a merger but we can say that it doesn’t make sense in terms of industrial logic. We don’t have overlapping memberships (UNITE only has small numbers in the civil service) and we are not competitors for members in the same industries. Where Unite organise is generally separate from where we do. So it cannot be argued that a merger with Unite is a case of ‘one union in one industry’.

UNITE, whilst compared to many other unions is more democratic, PCS is more democratic still. In many parts of UNITE, full time officers and regional secretaries dominate lay officials. That is not so in many parts of our union.

Then there is UNITE’s link up with the Labour Party. At one time, for the Socialist Party (SP) and indeed Mark Serwotka, that would have prevented a merger. So what is different now?

Well the following link provides a clue:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-the-public–commercial-services-union-protect-our-pensions-union-faces-its-own-pensions-crisis-9180044.html

PCS is facing a financial crisis over its pensions and of course faces financial ruin if the government rapidly moves to end check off.

We believe that the financial considerations are the major driver for the merger, at least on our side. Of course if we are really are in a bad way concerning monies, and that gets worse through the attacks on check off then we don’t have a merger we have a takeover by UNITE i.e. they will buy PCS to rescue it from its deficits. That doesn’t give PCS a strong hand in any negotiations with UNITE.

No doubt the leadership will wrap up the need to merge in fancy language but at bottom it appears that it is money (or the lack of it) that is driving the merger. We are not indifferent to PCS’ money woes but a merger should by driven for other reasons.

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