Guest Post by Andy Magee
Like all members around the country members in Revenue & Customs group feel constantly under threat regarding job security. Only recently it was announced that the national Enquiry Centre structure (where anyone can get advice & guidance) is under threat of closure. A decision will be made later in the year and reps. & members are working hard to keep the network open. However what the future holds for the members working in these sites is still not clear. Members have said if they can remove that type of service who or what is vital. Some other current issues of interest to PCS members are;
The new performance management system and being put into the bottom 10 to 25%
The ongoing pay freeze compared to the spiralling cost of living.
The review of Terms & Conditions.
Sick absence procedures that many view as punishing those who are unfortunate to be sick.
PCS within the group has taken action in line with the national campaigns strategy. The turn out by members in support of the action is disputed. Certainly there were some sites where 99% of members ignored the recent half day action and went into work (there were certainly others where those supporting the action was in the high %). In my opinion apathy has already started to grow amongst members. This is not unexpected as the disputes regarding pensions, the compensation scheme and pay have rumbled on for some time. But apathy has consequences;
As a rep. members constantly tell me that they feel a sense of despair after action has been taken as little seems to come from the centre of PCS outlining what the action actually achieved. Frustration perhaps is growing as a break through appears a long way off and members complain that in the vacuum created more and more issues are arising i.e. difficulty in getting leave, constant changing priorities.
As there has been little recruitment into Revenue & Customs union recruitment of members is getting more difficult and retention appears to be one of the main tasks. Members have had to become more frugal with their spending and with pay freezes and the higher cost of living the cost of the PCS subscription is being viewed by some as money they do not have. One member wrote to me recently stating;
“After over 28 years as a Union member, it is with regret that I feel the need to resign from the Union.
At present times are tough for everyone and yet I see that PCS still continue to call for Industrial Action in the form of a strike. In my view this is only handing money back to the Government and I do not feel that this will achieve anything. The Government will steam ahead as can be seen already by the 1% pay deal up to 2015 plus we are already paying increased pension contributions.”
As a union we do need a breakthrough and to sell our achievements, but I also think we need a change and a more shared future. The National Executive Committee elections of PCS will shortly take place this gives all members the chance to change things by electing 4 the members candidates.