Tuesday, 22 October 2013

PCS backtracks on planned strike

The PCS National Executive Committee met today to consider the results of the consultation exercise over the future of the (current?) dispute. They received feedback from nearly four out of five of branches which means around a fifth did not take part.

Most of us were expecting the announcement of further strike action following the NEC meeting today but none has been made. In fact if you actually read the report placed on the PCS website you will hard pressed to know what the actual outcome of the consultation was. They write:

The national executive wishes to thanks branches for their positive and serious engagement in the consultation exercise.
The executive discussed how the consultation could inform the campaign strategy. 
First, it was agreed to step up attempts to build co-ordinated joint action with other unions over the public sector pay freeze and pension cuts. Approaches will be made urgently to unions currently engaged in campaigns of action. The national disputes committee will meet to consider whether effective co-ordinated action is possible.
Secondly, the executive agreed a strategy of national and targeted action aimed at exerting sustained pressure on the employer in the civil service and related organisations. The national disputes committee will identify key operational areas where action can have a serious impact and persuade the employer to negotiate a settlement on our national demands. The executive agreed to divert resources to these areas and a national levy will be implemented to raise funds to support members taking action in the targeted areas.
Political campaigning will be built up to increase pressure on politicians in their constituencies to support PCS members.
Lastly, the executive agreed to issue encouragement and guidance to members to take part in the day of action called by national anti-cuts forum the People’s Assembly on 5 November to protest against the government’s damaging and unnecessary austerity programme.
There has been a suggestion that the result was "narrowly against" further action which would explain the lack of resolve on the leaderships part. I say this because the Janice Godrich the PCS President and other members of the  Socialist Party on the NEC have continually campaigned for a "General Strike" since the consultation exercise was launched.

The NEC should either publish the full report from the consultation exercise or at the very least circulate copies to Branches. Reps need to know the details.

If the Socialist Party are unable to get the only union in their control to take action then their whole strategy is exposed for the political joke that it is and they are. There was a call for a strike at the NEC meeting from a minority (probably the SWP) but it was roundly defeated.

The PCS leadership are off to find out what other unions might be interested in doing, if anything "fruitful" comes out of it they will reconvene the NEC. More likely they'll try and revive all this closer to the internal union elections next year.

Watch this space.

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