Sunday, 28 September 2014

PCS union to face another breakaway?

Last year members in the Serious Organised Crime Agency split en-mass from the main civil service union PCS following the refusal of the unions far-left leadership to accept the agreements reached by union representatives over the subsuming of SOCA into the Police. Not only have they set up their own union, the National Crime Officers Association, the new union has increased the number of union members in the sector itself.

The whole business (see here and here) was very much hidden from the wider PCS membership, but given the number of members who left was a substantial blow to the ailing fortunes of PCS itself.

Now PCS faces a further challenge from members in the HMRC (Revenue and Customs) as disenchanted members (and others) are now seeking to form a new union.


The Revenue & Customs Trade Union (RCTU) announces on it's new website:

This is a serious attempt to form a NEW Trade Union in HM Revenue and Customs. This is backed by a significant number of union representatives ( past and present ) and a wide range of HMRC staff many of whom are members of other Civil Service unions....

It is patently obvious that the current vehicle for union organisation and negotiation in HMRC is broken and irretrievably so. The national union of which HMRC is but a group uses HMRC staff as a virtual political football, something that can only increase when that union falls , as it will, to the larger Unite union. This is unacceptable and contrary to productive industrial relations and the current union has misused and failed to protect and promote the interests of its members most visibly displayed by the falling participation of voting in union ballots and elections and an increasing use of one day stoppages with no clear strategic endgame that is suffering declining support.

We need a mature , responsible , logical approach to industrial relations . Not one of unconstrained ideologies run by political parties ( albeit vastly different from their own real lives ) few have heard of but who actually and really exercise disproportional control of your working lives at union national and group level. Do not think for one second that we are saying it is possible to change everything , overnight or otherwise , we are not . What we know is we can and will deliver a better future for HMRC staff than what they currently face from serious unresolved strategic issues with the employer through to being used as what amounts to foot soldiers in a battle with politicians for the “enjoyment” of 19th century recidivists.

What they say about "the current union" (obviously PCS, but not spelled out for diplomatic reasons) will ring true to those who have had to put up with the "19th century recidivists" in both their own groups (like the DWP) and the National union as a whole.

PCS leaders and the far-left in the HMRC are understandably not happy according to reports I've heard, but no official statement has been released to my knowledge.

There are signs that a small number of members have been quitting PCS, some joining the pre-existing Prospect union. With the end of the "check off" system coming to many departments, there may well be more than a few more. At one National Executive Committee meeting plans were made which acknowledged the possible loss of around 10% of the membership.

If the RCTU does get off the ground PCS will find recruitment in another sector even more difficult. I understand the new union is relying on "expressions of interest" as it tries to obtain recognition from the employer. How successful this will be depend on work done in the HMRC offices themselves.

Certainly a development to watch.

Please note this article was banned by PCS from their Face Book page. Defend Free Speech!

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