Sunday, 5 January 2014

Is there a future in PCS?

This post was originally issued as a e-mail to PCS members today.

At the beginning of December I sent out a note under the title PCS is a broken union in which I made clear that I was (a) withdrawing from the 4themembers group and (b) that PCS was beyond reform. Over the holidays I have had time to reflect on the future for us as PCS members but was unclear whether I should share my current thoughts until today.

I came across a website that was laughably labelled as one produced by the "PCS Young members Network". It is clearly influenced not by trade unionism, but the Socialist Party, the former Militant Tendency who had at one stage completely hijacked the labour Party Young Socialists in the attempt to take over the Labour Party.

Neil Kinnock had the good sense to drive them out of the Labour Party, especially after the Militant used Taxis to deliver redundancy notices to it's own staff following their disastrous tenure in control of Liverpool Council.

Fast forward to today they have taken over PCS, albeit in alliance with what Lenin would have described as "useful idiots" and have succeeded in making PCS weaker than any Civil Service union has ever been.

Well done comrades. I hope you are pleased with yourselves. You have control of the biggest of the Civil Service unions and have used it for your own purposes for most of the last decade.

However the price has been the destruction of the union.

Worse is to come, I'll be writing about that at a later date, but in the mean time we, the subscription paying members have to ask ourselves what will we do next.

The first thing I need to make clear is that in the current climate we certainly do need a trade union, but PCS under the misleadership of Mark Serwotka and his socialist menagerie is not working.

One group of members in the Serious Organised Crime Agency have already left en-mass not that Serwotka and co have ever bothered to tell you. The circumstances in SOCA were quite specific which is why they were able to form an independent trade union.

That's not an option for most of us and in any case having lots of small unions popping up would weaken our ability to organise effectively.

Of course we could all join another union, Prospect would seem the obvious choice, but to be effective we would have to join in large numbers, leaving the idiots behind in charge of the asylum that PCS has now become.

The other option we have is carrying on as we are, at least in the Branches where reps are still able to assist with members personal case work, which appears to be the main reason people join the union these days. A kind of "insurance policy".

Even that may be threatened in time as the union atrophies nationally.

For the time being we will probably have to make the best of what we have.

But what do you think?

That's the important question.

PCS may have been hijacked and wrecked by the political activists of the far left, but at the end of the day the union and it's future belongs in your hands.

Drop me a line with your thoughts and lets see what we can do salvage something out of this mess.

In the mean time I will continue issuing news, information and comment both by e-mail and on my blog.


  1. Tick Tock said the clock the time running out to save PCS. The Union is now in a right mess, The hard left have made our sprit near dead. Nearly time PCS is put to bed.

    A new dawn and a new day time to save us from the backward ways.

    look forward and look bright time for a new president am I right?

    Let's fight back with honour and grace and make PCS a nice place.

  2. I left PCS about 4 years ago after it became apparent they were incapable of representing me, and would prefer to drive a political agenda. Final straw was when they rejected (for the umpteenth time) the pay offer leading to it being imposed anyway. Why spend tenner a month on a union who can't effectively represent their members, and ideologically reject anything that doesn't reflect their narrow world view of what would be best for the workers.
    I'm now £120 a year better off in a recession for not being in PSC. This is good

    1. I should have said - I honestly don't think I could ever go back to a union now having seen what PCS have "achieved" at DWP in terms of badly turned out strikes and outright rejection of pay offers. The department offers reward based on ability, but the union has seemed to only want to ensure all get the same; so what's my incentive? Should I be a good leftie and bump along in solidarity on the basis the least incentivised will get a better deal? Or should I do what I want to do and do a really good job and reap the reward (all be it about 50p a week and all the rats we can catch).
      In the end I've decided that I can support my family more effectively (i.e I'm better off) as a non-union member; and until there's a union who can represent me properly as a member and not a number in a threat-of-strike figure or a "look how solid this strike is" press release I'm better off out of the union

  3. Was this email that you issued to members in a official capacity as the Branch Secretary with the prior approval of the Branch Committee or without agreement? As someone that works in DWP, been in PCS for 27 years, am not a member of any faction and on a Branch Committee I would be furious if my Secretary used confidential mailing lists to promote their own views on such a contentious subject as to question the fundamentals of being a union member or not. Once that is clarified then I may wish to reply to the substantive issue, but at the moment I am concerned that you have acted the same way as those you appear to be claiming are misrepresenting the ordinary members views.

    1. Quite happy to respond if you post under your real name.

  4. I do find these 'I am not member of any faction' type posts hilarious. Firstly Howie hasn't used 'confidential mailing lists' he mails people using e-mail addresses that are openly available. Branch Secs dont get confidential mailing lists'. Secondly he doesn't send personal stuff out as Branch Secretary. But you know all that I am sure, as you will be a political opponent.

  5. Howie uses his own PC for his blogs. I for one thank Howie for the news from outside the PCS Elite bubble.