Thursday, 15 May 2014

Once more on the future of PCS

Delegates will be preparing to travel to Brighton over the next couple of days to attend what may turn out to be the last ever conference of the PCS, the largest of the civil service unions. As readers will be aware proposals are on the agenda to allow for Unite to simply take over the "engagements" of the union. Depending on a ballot of course.

Whilst there has been some quite vocal opposition to the merger, some from the far left and others on the mainstream, the whole issue revolves around whether PCS is fact able to continue as an independent union.

Speculation about PCS finances emerged after details of the unions pension deficit were published in the press. The Socialist Party Grandees have gone to "great lengths" to assure members that this is not the case in Circulars, letters to delegates & branch secretaries and of course on the unions Face book Page. Not all are convinced.

Even their "allies" in the SWP seem to be ambivalent and write:

Meanwhile reports from the Unite union suggest that merger proposals with the PCS are far more advanced than the PCS leadership admits.

Unite leader Len McCluskey apparently said any merger would not affect the Unite rule book or its relationship with the Labour Party.

Last year’s PCS conference only allowed talks to go ahead on the basis that there would be safeguards to protect democratic structures in the PCS and our ability to act independently of Labour.

In any case merger can’t be substituted for a serious fight against government attacks.

An interesting conclusion on their part as the second "merger" bulletin to PCS members highlights the following statement:

The aim of the merger talks is to see if it possible to create a new fighting force in the trade union movement.

Although they deny it, some consider the merger part of the long term strategy of the Socialist Party to try and break the Unite union from Labour. This would tie in with their self proclaimed Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition which receives backing from the RMT.

Certainly the Socialist Party is the main force behind the proposed dissolution of PCS and the forthcoming debate in Brighton next week is the only one of any importance for delegates to consider.

Under the terms of the subsuming of our unions interest, Unites rules and policy will supercede those of PCS where they conflict. 

So not all bad then.

However delegates need to extract the truth from the PCS leadership as this proposal could seriously undermine trade unionism in the civil service. How far they will get is another matter.

Ending the independence of the largest of the civil service unions is not a matter to be taken lightly and certainly is not one that should be in the interests of the a political sect such as the trotskyist Socialist Party.


  1. Ah! Wrong comment box!

    "I've signed" should have gone BTL at the Sudan inter-marriage post. I don't know how it ended up here.

    BTW, Howard, it's bloody hard to leave comments on your blog, what with all the tests you have to pass to prove you're human.

    1. Apologies for the difficulties you had in posting. I thought I'd turned the "tests" off, so my apologies I'll see if I can adjust it to make it simpler.

      I regret that comments have to be moderated but there is an abusive troll posting under multiple identities from time to time.