Each year the Democratic Alliance (DA) puts out election material asking for your vote.
If you look at it over the years the thing that strikes you about this material is that it does not change much; the world may change but DA material stays much the same.
Despite the possible merger, our financial crisis and the possible end to check off, the same claims for the DA are made as for the last years. The material always has a prominent PCS logo as though it is official union material. In the CPSA, a predecessor union to this one, the right wing used to put out their material with a union logo on and the Left Unity element of the DA used to denounce this as an outrageous misuse of the logo; of course obviously when they do it, well that is different – isn’t it?
Back to the claims; each year we are told that the DA negotiated a ‘major national agreement on job protection that prevented thousands of compulsory redundancies’. In case you don’t know the name of this agreement, it is the Jobs Protocol. Now an agreement usually has the character of a deal struck between two parties but if you read the Protocol you will see it is an intra-departmental understanding, not an agreement between the union and the government. We have no doubt that the union was consulted on it but it is not an agreement.
The Protocol has been of a use in reducing compulsory redundancies but it has not stopped them. Where compulsory redundancies have been stopped that is down to the efforts of the branch and Group activists not the Protocol per se. Indeed anyone who has used the Protocol in action knows how clumsy it is and what limited rights it gives to individuals and indeed to the union itself. If it is truly an agreement then it is a poor one – for example it does not include the right – which is guaranteed in case law, of offering someone facing compulsory redundancy, suitable, alternative employment. At least the DA could acknowledge that the Job Protocol should be strengthened!
In later postings we will examine some of the other claims made by the DA but we end this article by noting that the circular is signed off by the Union President (personal capacity). LU used to denounce the CPSA right wing for doing that as well but obviously when they do it, well that is different – isn’t it?