The coalition Governments offencive against the Civil Service (and other public sector) trade unions is well known but the latest news to emerge is that top civil servant Sir Bob Kerslake is the subject of an attack by Francis Maude. The Times reports:
Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the Civil Service, is resisting pressure to step down from his post next month and make way for a full time replacement, possibly from the private sector.
He is said to have poor relations with Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, and has lost the confidence of the Prime Minister, who has asked Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary to look for a replacement.
This comes at a time when the Civil Service is under unprecedented pressure to cut costs, reduce jobs and at the same time supposedly increase efficiency and performance. Over the last three years around 65,000 posts have gone and a further 35,000 are proposed by 2015.
Morale is already rock bottom amongst rank and file workers in the Civil Service as I can personally attest being one of them! News that further job losses are on the way are far from unexpected but how the Government expect the remaining staff to cope with ever increasing workloads is unexplained.
At the same time there is a clear steer from the Government to politicise the Civil Service. The Times reminds us that:
Under the second series of reforms published in July, ministers will be able to have extended private offices with more expert political advisers, but many want to go farther.
This takes place at a time when the rights of trade union reps have been drastically reduced and facilities to assist members have been reduced to the most basic level they can get away with under the law.
Simultaneously Eric Pickles has decided to attempt the end "check off" system (whereby union subscriptions are collected via the payroll) starting with his own Department for Communities and Local Government.
This is nothing to do with saving money (it costs a mere £300 per year) but yet a further attempt to weaken trade unions.
The PCS union is contesting this punitive move in court which will cost the Government thousands of pounds in legal fees.
You can still protest about this by going to: http://action.pcs.org.uk/page/speakout/defend-dclg-union-rights
You can also join the demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice on 3rd September between 9:30 and 10:30.
Defend Your Trade Unions!