The blog Ian's Unite site publishes the following report by Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey:
Following a decision of the Executive Council, informal talks have been taking place with PCS on exploring a transfer of that union’s engagements into Unite.
Unite’s team has included the Chair of the Executive Council, executive officers and senior lay colleagues. PCS’s team has been led by its General Secretary and has included lay EC members. The talks have covered the constitutional, industrial, political and administrative questions which would arise from joining Unite.
Separately, the Executive Director for Finance has met his opposite number at PCS to consider financial, pension and property issues.
On this basis, there seems to be no impediment to opening formal talks on a transfer of engagements which would bring PCS into Unite. Specifically:
- No significant revision of Unite’s rules would be required and the transfer of engagements will be on the basis of our existing rule book.
- Subject to the resolution of pensions issues between PCS and the Pensions Regulator, there are no obvious financial issues that would obstruct a transfer (due diligence will nevertheless have to be completed before any final agreement is brought before the Council).
- No change to Unite’s political affiliations will be sought or considered in the context of the formal discussions
- Short-term transitional arrangements will suffice to ensure the full and complete integration of the PCS membership into Unite’s existing structures
Formal "negotiations" will now open with PCS. Some members of Unite's EC were quite rightly worried about a further "period of turmoil" that they have experienced with previous mergers. Given the political makeup of the controlling Left Unity group in PCS they should be concerned. Since they gained power well over a decade ago the far-left have managed to wreck the largest civil service union to the point where it isn't viable as an independent body it would seem.
Despite the PCS leadership telling us that there will be a small "operating surplus" in the unions finances, its' clear that from the huge pension deficit for the unions own employees (running at some £65 Million according to leaked reports in the press), something is seriously wrong.
Part of the negotiations will be about this issue and it remains possible that the talks with the Pensions Regulator could still remain a barrier as McCluskey seems to indicate in his report.
In the mean time there seems to be a quite unhealthy rush to bring about the dissolution of PCS.
Despite the Annual Conference of the union taking place in May, McCluskey is reported as saying a special conference for PCS will take place as early as June/July and the takeover (subject to a members ballot) would be complete by January 2015.
With conference only a few short weeks away there is an urgent need for PCS members to discuss the implications of the proposals being pushed through with such undue haste by Mark Serwotka and the Socialist Party leadership.
The decision to end our unions existence cannot be taken lightly.
What it does show is that Serwotka's legacy will be remembered as one of abject failure.
Shame on you "comrades".