Again back to the idea that linking Unite’s members in the NHS, councils to our members will lead or could lead, to real gains for members.
Inherently, we don’t see the logic of this (Unite is a minority union in the NHS and councils, we have a different employer to them) but the track record of PCS actually linking members together is poor.
PCS links together members in HMRC, DWP, HO etc, etc; has done so for over a decade. Yet no honest person could claim that this linking together has in itself lead to a penny extra in pay for members (indeed in the past Mark Serwotka has admitted the same).
The reason for this is the faulty leadership of the people who run PCS. They have never campaigned for national pay in the civil service nor equal pay. They have never relentlessly, systematically exposed the differences in pay between staff in the same grade but who just happen to work in different bargaining units. Indeed they have not relentlessly, systematically campaigned on pay or pay structures. Yes, pay is ‘discovered’ when strike action is being contemplated – so be prepared for lots of talk of pay over the coming months, but this is not systematic work.
Nor have they ever pursued smart strike tactics. Despite our criticisms of their dumb one day strikes followed by months of inaction they have pursued this tactic again and again – and for good measure again and again even though it was clear that it was not working. They now claim that they seen the errors of their ways and want ‘smart’ action but we have not seen any evidence in reality that this is the case (where is the levy for example).
Now if the transfer to Unite happens, the PCS leadership will likely be the leaders of the Unite public sector group (NHS, councils and us). If they could not win anything in the Civil Service, why would they now win anything in the wider public sector? Applying the same faulty ideas but on a bigger scale does not lead to victory; giving our leaders a bigger toy set to play with does not fill us with confidence. What is lacking concerning this transfer are any real concrete ideas as to how members would be better off. Until we are shown such ideas then we will oppose the transfer- unless there really is a PCS financial crisis of course.