Sunday, 7 April 2013

PCS: A dispute in a mess

PCS is currently running a series of strikes over pensions, pay and conditions of service. This has led to one day of action (albeit by less than half its' members) and on Friday a half-day strike which to say the least, has been fraught with problems is an understatement.

In fact the half-day strike was trumpeted as a "weekend of action" by the PCS, except it turned into a wee bit of a farce thanks to poor planning by the Serwotka/Socialist Party leadership.  For "practical" reasons (ie the computer systems were not working on Friday), the HMRC strike was delayed until Monday afternoon. That in itself took a large chunk of members out of the equation as it is the second largest section of the union.

The Home Office dispute ran into trouble over Management threats to deduct a whole days pay from strikers for half a days strike which forced the union to call a whole days strike. Except they didn't. PCS issued a statement to reps on Friday stating they were calling off the strike in the UK Border Agency due to a "legal challenge", though failing to tell us what that actually was.

In fact their decision to change the nature of the dispute meant they failed to notify Management within the seven day notice required by the current set of Trade Union Laws. Apparently the "comrades" are fuming about this, but should have had enough nouse to know that this would be the case. Since they are so keen on organising "coordinated strike action", then they should bloody well know how to coordinate!

Not to be outdone Mark Serwotka has gone a bit "Kim Jong-un" and declared to the BBC:

"We warned the Home Office and UKBA that their belligerent approach would only serve to escalate the dispute and we are now planning a longer series of strikes that will cause even more disruption.

Or as one Home Office rep, Owen Dodd describes it as simply "losing the plot". 
The other department that was also seemingly subject to "legal challenge" was the Met Police (civilian staff) group. No explanation given, but similar to the Home Office would be an intelligent guess.

So how did the dispute actually go on Friday? According to PCS "tens of thousands". According to Management 40,000 or so. Socialist Worker however claims 180,000! Actually comrades the figure you quote is the number of members eligible to strike and the real figure is likely closer to the one given by Management.

PCS figures are always "bloated" and the reason for this was "given away" during the pensions dispute when an e-mail arrived telling me to include as "on strike" anyone "who wasn't at work for any reason". Great we don't even get to tell each other the truth!

Fridays action would have seen less members available because it is the Easter half-term and thousands of members were away for that reason. "Simples" as they say these days.

The current strike has fallen flat on its face and the people to blame are the PCS leaders. That's Mark Serwotka, Socialist Party "fixer" John McInally and the "comrades of the far-left. Well done. Yet at the same time these people keep prattling on about the need for "co-ordinated strike action (a general strike to you & me).
If they can't get it together in the one union they control how on earth do they expect anyone to believe they can organise a "general strike"? 

The far-left were ill-advised to launch this dispute in the first place, but they couldn't be told. Now they have made a complete mess of it. 

This is what happens when the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party insist on putting their interests before that of the members.

PCS needs to be be returned to what it was intended to be. A Trade Union. Pure & "simple"!

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