Monday, 4 March 2013

PCS: Low level of support for strike

The result of the PCS strike ballot was "published" late this afternoon indicating a low level of support for action amongst PCS members despite a month of campaigning by the Socialist Party leadership of the union. For political reasons the PCS website did not publish the full information from the ballot, which is becoming habitual in their reporting.

The membership of PCS is around the 270,000 mark so the figures have to viewed against this. The results declared on the PCS website do not give the actual number of ballot papers actually issued:

The turnout was 28% according to the BBC or just over 1 in 4 of those balloted. 

Strike action:

Votes cast in the ballot          62,656
Votes YES to strike action 38,122 60.8%
Votes NO to  strike action 24,534 39.2%
Spoiled voting papers         1,250
The National Executive Committee is to meet tomorrow (March 5th) to discuss the outcome.

The NEC will have to take into account both the low turnout and the surprisingly high No vote given the huge effort that "activists" put into getting the vote out including a programme of "cold calling" members at home in the evenings and at weekends. 

The official PCS statement states that:

A programme of walkouts and protests will be discussed by the union's national executive committee in the coming days, with a decision expected on Wednesday

Remarkably similar to John McInally's words in The Socialist newspaper a few weeks ago when he wrote defiantly:

...the left-led PCS leadership is seen as public enemy No 1 by the government.

If the Tories think PCS are contemplating "protest" action they can think again.
They should understand now we will respond by organising the most effective programme of disruptive action the civil service has ever seen.
Problem for the comrades is that the level of support from members for this ill-considered action is far from secure. Obviously a large number of members will (and should respect picket lines) but the delusional policy of the PCS leadership has to be challenged.
As Neil Kinnock once said:

I'll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, outdated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs.....

Prophetic words indeed.

PCS members deserve a union that takes note of political reality rather than outdated Marxist notions that they hope will lead the working classes to the banner of revolutionary socialism. 

This dispute has been ill thought out and does not bode well for the future.

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