Thursday, 13 June 2013

PCS cancels further strike in June, but left remain in denial

The PCS National Executive Committee cancelled the planned one day national strike that everyone had been expecting at the end of June. Management had even begun refusing leave requests for June 27th as part of their preparations. This surprising decision comes as a whole series of one-day national and regional strikes has failed to make any dents in Government policy and the numbers of members participating has been gradually declining exponentially.

This comes in complete contrast to the mad ravings of Socialist Party PCS leaders like John McInally who only recently wrote that:
The re-election of the Democracy Alliance national executive committee is a real blow to the government's attempt to break PCS members' resolve.
The re-election of a fighting left leadership is a mandate to continue with the strategy of industrial action of varying duration and timing which is causing disruption and real concern among management. It is also an endorsement of the union's campaign against austerity.
Instead the NEC are now calling for a "day of action" on June 27th during which members will, err..protest at lunchtime or do not a lot really. An e-mail to PCS Branch Secretaries issued by Steve Cawkwell today states that:

All members will be asked to join a range of activities and meetings at their workplace. The protests should be as large, lively and loud as possible in order to send the Cabinet Office and ministers the message that we demand negotiations on a fair settlement.

The message continues:

The protests will also launch our summer of consultation as we begin a process of discussion in the union on how to escalate the ongoing industrial action.

Every branch in the union will be consulted and all tactics will be considered including action targeted at key parts of the civil service, a national levy to support such action, short disruptive walkouts, and longer term all-member action.

The NEC in September will consider the results of the consultation and call the next phase of action unless the employer agrees to a fair settlement.

This has not gone down well with some of the comrades as the furious discussion on the PCS Face Book page shows. Far from facing up to reality, some are protesting that the action should be long term and in one case a really far left out rep from Oxford tries to claim that:

In DWP especially this month would be great month for day of strike as end of July most members will receive their performance bonus so will not not really lose money. ooh i'm so cross!

How that is "not losing money is beyond me. Members have voted with their feet, with well over two thirds of them ignoring the dispute which only had minority support to begin with.

The trouble with the Serwotka/Socialist Party leadership of PCS is that they have pursued a strategy that is based on their unrealistic political requirements (that of revolutionary Marxism) rather than one that is based on the members actual industrial needs. In other words they do not pick and choose to fight winnable battles. it is this that has led to the continued failure of the union to make any real gains for the members.

Whether the dispute is resurrected in September is questionable to say the least. Members will certainly not be willing to lose money for a campaign that has not only failed but is not winnable. The Pensions issue is already lost and by then the Pay Claims will all have been implemented (on the Governments terms. As for conditions of service changes, these were circulated by Management today and don't really affect existing members of staff.

The union needs more than a consultation process, it requires a clear reformation to end the domination of PCS by the play ground revolutionaries that dominate at present. Such a process will not be easy or comfortable but is essential if PCS is to return to political and industrial reality.

The alternative is for the union to continue its' now rapid loss of credibility.

That cannot and must not be allowed to happen.

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