In the run up to Christmas Janice Godrich, PCS President and leading member of the Socialist Party had been speaking at a tiny lobby of the TUC calling for co-ordinated strike action (a euphemism for a General Strike). Added to this the constant calls of the SP and its "front" organisations the National Shop Stewards Movement and the so-called Trade Union & Socialist Alliance for a General Strike, the plan was obvious.
John McInally (PCS Vice-President), the Socialist Party's chief "fixer" in PCS wrote a substantial article a couple of days before the strike call was made by the PCS National Executive Committee in which he says:
Most serious trade union activists and members now know a 24-hour general strike is the most effective way to start to take on this government.
Trade union leaders who are serious about organising action in a "coalition of the willing" should discuss coordinating their ballots - as was done for the N30 pension strike last year.
Attacks are increasing. But the resistance against austerity is also. The cowardly role of right-wing trade union leaders will be sharply exposed.
PCS's fighting, campaigning leadership, along with its battle-hardened activists...... blah, blah...
Combined with an unnecessary attack on the now retired TUC General Secretary we can see that the Socialist Party is attempting to raise the political temperature by using the unions to pursue its' own sectarian interests.
The letter to Management from PCS was designed to be rejected. As most of us realise the pensions dispute is long over and the pay freeze is here to stay for a while longer regardless of our feelings on the matter. With workers losing their jobs in Jessops, HMV and Blockbusters members realise that there would be little public support for a major campaign on pay. As for conditions of service, these are yet to be formalised and presented to us. Its all vague (if disturbing) talk. But remains talk at least for a little longer.
For these reasons its' hardly surprising the Government are not going to enter into "negotiations" over issues that have long passed their "sell by date" or are not yet ready to to deal with. Serwotka, McInally & co all know this but for them the struggle is all and the stakes for them are high.
With their main rival the SWP collapsing around them, the Socialist Party are obviously hoping to come out as the biggest "gang on the block". Trouble is as we all are well aware the SP are just as undemocratic as the cult of the SWP. The SP have the same basic politics and practise of "democratic centralism" that is the root cause of all the evil at the heart of Marxism-Leninism.
In the mean time the misuse of PCS under their leadership continues. This strike will achieve nothing and further sideline PCS as a trade union. The Socialist Party know this but as usual put their interests first.