The PCS Independent Left (IL) is the only meaningful, serious, representative based, democratic socialist opposition to the current leadership.
What we stand for
- Rank-and-file control: the union should support all groups of workers who want to take action, not put barriers in their way.
- Elected and accountable full-time officials: all officials should be elected and directly answerable and accountable to the membership, not to the internal staff hierarchy of the union. FTOs’ pay should be pegged to the average wages of the members they represent.
- A union for all government workers: PCS should take its lead from our activists in BEIS, the culture sector, and HMRC Bootle, and from unions like United Voices of the World, and make a serious effort to organise all workers in our workplaces, including outsourced agency workers, and fight for direct employment and the levelling up of conditions.
- A serious political and industrial strategy: Greater focus on workplace campaigns and dispute, to help spread and amplify them. Campaigns like the HMRC cleaners’ fight should be extended unionwide, and the anger amongst telephony and processing workers in the DWP into a wider dispute.
- Transparent negotiations: Independent Left candidates will oppose secret “embargo” agreements that prevent rank-and-file members scrutinising and participating in the process of negotiation. Members should be kept informed, engaged, and able to democratically direct the negotiation process.
- Equality at the centre: The union should be a tool for black, women, LGBT+, and disabled workers to use to organise against inequality and discrimination, at work and in society.
From leading strikes to building real industrial strength in the workplace, IL members have years of experience as rank-and-file, workplace reps.
- Led the way in developing and establishing legally binding minima to maxima pay progression.
- Pioneered the incorporation of beneficial provisions civil service staff handbooks into members’ contracts of employment, including the rights of Union representatives.
- Pioneered the “equality proofing” of HR policies.
- Legally established the identity of the Crown – not departments and agencies – as the employer of all civil servants.
- Have consistently campaigned for the pay of the top PCS officials – £90,000+ pa- to be brought out of the stratosphere and closer to the salaries of the dues paying members. A principle that Left Unity has fought elections on and then fought against when in power.
- Developed the PCS equality policy – adopted at conference but sat on by the NEC – to place equality at the heart of PCS’ national campaigning: challenging discriminatory PMR markings and discriminatory PRP, the disproportionate use of performance and attendance procedures against ethnic minority and disabled members, promoting equal pay and improving the delivery of reasonable adjustments, challenge age discrimination, and draw out the link between the growing inequality in wider society and that within the civil service.
The current NEC – a record of national failure
Members have been hammered on one major issue after another. Living standards have been slashed and are slated to be cut further. Jobs are being shredded and stress levels rising. We are faced with a national government onslaught but with no meaningful national PCS response. HQ support to PCS “bargaining units” – especially the smaller units – and representatives is becoming ever more distant.
Members need a PCS leadership that “gets it right” on the big issues and even with the most generous evaluation of their record, the Left Unity majority on the NEC is not such a leadership.
In the two decades it has controlled the union, Left Unity:
- Has not secured a single substantive victory as a national union – be it on pensions, pay, terms and conditions, jobs or equality – despite all the national disputes which have been called, which members have supported, and which the NEC never called off, preferring to let them fade away and hope the members wouldn’t notice.
- Is not politically coordinating and challenging the widespread unequal treatment of older, more junior, disabled and ethnic minority members under the PMR and inefficiency procedures despite PCS conference policy requiring it to do so.
- Cancelled the 2015 NEC elections in an affront to the democracy of PCS and in breach of the requirement for annual elections.
- Pays top officials £90,000+ per annum out of the membership dues (the one pay battle that the “leadership” has won and the one cost seemingly beyond its sharp service reducing eye). Only John Moloney, the IL member elected Assistant General Secretary, takes a workers’ wage and donates the majority of his wages to the Fighting Fund.
- Planned to flog off PCS HQ to pay our running costs (a sure sign of poor administration) and then, when they were unable to do so, claimed that a sale was not needed.
- Is steeped in a spinmeister culture – even once including lamentably claiming a breakthrough national pay agreement that never existed – that corrodes membership confidence and miseducates members and activists.
Nominate and work with the IL
In the run up to the NEC elections and at branch AGMs, we are asking PCS representatives and members to nominate and work with us to change PCS for the better.
IL has consistently argued for the NEC to reconnect with, and strengthen the confidence of, members by:
- Devoting additional resources to the support of our private sector members.
- Developing a meaningful national strategy to unionise those private sector companies providing support to the civil service.
- Focusing on the national defence of pay, jobs and living standards.
- Spreading awareness of best practice terms and conditions throughout all bargaining units.
- Developing an effective industrial action strategy, including selective action, in place of episodic one day strikes that the government simply sits out.
- Developing a membership led union, thoroughly consulting members on demands, strategy and tactics and providing timely and informative reports national talks. (An IL NEC would support those members who want to fight instead of sitting on their dispute).