What’s happening to PCS in the Ministry of Justice?

PCS density in the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is collapsing.

The Organising statistics, sent to Branch Secretaries this month, but noticeably absent from the website, illustrates another year of haemorrhaging of members in their Department.

The statistics don’t reference the overall density rate in the MoJ. Despite calls to publish these in order to be open and honest with members, the perennial leadership excuse is that they don’t want the employer to know how weak we are. A crushing admittance in itself, but also self-defeating: They know how weak we are through our inaction, their own statistics and the overall membership figures we are willing to publish online.

However, the stats that are published show another 10%+ drop in members in the department, which by our reckoning puts the density under 20%.

Staff and members in MoJ enjoy some of the worst pay in the entire civil service and some of the largest proliferation of out-sourcing and use of agency and casual staff. The union response to these attacks over the past 5 years has been ineffective if not non-existent and it appears members are voting with their feet.

Indeed, the union’s relevance in one of the top-5 largest Government department is so low that the United Voices of the World (UVW)– a very small non-TUC union without the resources of PCS – has successfully organised cleaners at MoJ HQ and have launched a campaign of action, including strikes, for better wages and conditions. A campaign that should inspire and be supported by PCS and our members, but that seriously raises the question – where is PCS?

Despite all this, the Democracy Alliance are asking you to support a number of leading members of the MoJ Group for election to the National Executive. We ask, are they standing on their record? And if so, is it really one we want replicating at a national level?

An Independent Left NEC would support the MoJ GEC and branches to completely rethink their organisational strategy; including learning the key lessons from the rank-and-file, issue led campaigning that unions such as the UVW have been so successfully able to employ in such a short time. We would also be completely open and honest with members about the organisational challenges faced by the union to illustrate the seriousness of the situation we’re in.

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