PCS DWP GEC: A record of failure

The past year has not been a good one for PCS members in DWP. Another year of a sub inflation pay award: another increase in pension contributions; over 5,000 jobs gone with a further cut of 10% this year; a draconian new sickness regime where you can now be given a warning for taking 4 spells as well as 8 days; a reporting system that forces 10% of us in to the ‘must improve’; discrimination rife; strong rumours that DWP will be the first to end check off. The GEC is out of its depth. Change is overdue. Vote Independent Left!


The government is to blame for the problems facing PCS members but the GEC is responsible for how well PCS has prepared for and responded to the coalition’s assaults. Its record is poor.


For over a decade IL has argued for selective industrial action to be one of the weapons available to PCS in its fight for pay, pensions and jobs, to hit the government hard and fast. Last October the NEC finally agreed to identify key areas where action can have a serious impact. PCS might not have lost so often and so badly if the NEC had listened earlier.


For over a decade IL has argued for a voluntary membership levy to help fund selective action. Last October the NEC finally agreed to raise funds to support members taking selective action. If it had acted earlier we would now have a war chest.


For over a decade IL has argued for the incorporation of the positive provisions of our conditions of service into members’ contracts of employment. Last September, our policy was vindicated when the High Court cited the explicit incorporation of check off into DCLG members’ contracts and declared Eric Pickles’ abolition of the arrangement in DCLG to be unlawful.

The incorporation of check off and other provisions in DCLG reflected the work of IL members and IL policy, just as it does in DfT, the only other department with check off as an explicit contractual right.


Pay is the litmus test of any trade union leadership. Our living standards have collapsed over the last few years. Under the current leadership, the max has only increased by 6% in the past eight years. PCS
correctly says that the max is the rate for the job. Over the same period prices have increased by 27% using the RPI measure of inflation.

Last year we agreed at our group conference that ‘(i)n the event that PCS does not receive a satisfactory offer from DWP by 1st July 2013, (the GEC will) seek authority from the National Disputes Committee for discontinuous strike action, and to consider including in this submission a request for authority to implement overtime bans, rolling strikes and paid selective action across DWP, this action to be taken nationally or co-ordinated with other Groups if possible.’

This never materialised. If elected, Independent Left will implement Conference policy and there will be a pay campaign this year. Our priorities for pay must be a cost of living increase and a catch up element to address the erosion in our living standards over the past few years.

Pay progression has been abolished. If you are below the max there is no mechanism within DWP pay systems to get you there. This is something that is negotiated each year. Another priority must be the re-introduction of progression so that members can clearly see how long it will take them to get to the max and this must be in in the shortest period possible.

Discrimination in DWP pay is rife. If you are black you are more likely to receive a ‘must improve’ than your white counterparts. If you are disabled you less likely to receive an ‘exceeded’ mark than your able-bodied colleagues and if you are part time you are more likely to receive a ‘must improve’ than full time colleagues. But even more junior grades are discriminated against compared to managers. Just under 17% of AO staff got an exceeded mark compared to over 30% of Garde 6s. This is excarbeated when you take into account the bonus payments for the differing grades. So over 30% of Grade 6s got a one off payment of £1,705 for their box marking whilst under 17% of AO staff got £525 for their box marking. No performance related pay system in the Civil Service has been shown to be free of bias. PRP must be scrapped as it discriminates against our members.


Similarly the GEC claims to have a campaign for 20,000 extra staff. Of course we support the recruitment of thousands of extra staff but this campaign exists only in the minds of the GEC. It is a virtual campaign. If elected we would be serious about planning a staffing campaign.


Even with a better leadership the Tory attacks would have happened. But a better leadership would have prepared the members better for the bad times. The stark difference between Independent Left and the current leadership is that we have ideas, think things through and plan ahead. Vote Independent Left for a membership led Union placing equality at the heart of its campaigning and defending the living standards of members.



Christine Hulme, Berkshire

Vice Presidents

Marjorie Browne, East London
Bev Laidlaw, Sheffield

Assistant Secretaries

Declan Power, West London
Tony Reay, South East London


Charlie McDonald, East London


Nigel Prendergast, East London

Journal editor

Nick Diamantis, South London


Tom Bishell, Sheffield
Marjorie Browne, East London
Sue Catten, East London
John Collinson, County Durham
Trish Doran, Brent, Harrow & Hillingdon
Christine Hulme, Berkshire
Bev Laidlaw, Sheffield
Jason Lansbury, Brent, Harrow and Hillingdon
John Mahoney, Lambeth & Southwark
Chris Marks, Cheshire
Charlie McDonald, East London
Declan Power, West London
Tony Reay, South East London
Jenny Richardson, Bucks & Oxon

A record of failure leaflet in PDF

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