Saturday, 8 November 2014

PCS: Controversy & crisis continues

The decision of PCS to put the Falcon Road headquarters building on the market for conversion into upmarket homes has caused consternation and surprise amongst many rank and file union members as no one was aware of the scale of the financial crisis that the union is facing,

Actually nobody outside Serwotkas inner circle appears to have any real knowledge of how had things are and no explanation seems to be forthcoming. 

Meanwhile there have been a couple of developments, the first being an adverse reaction to the sale of PCS HQ from Clapham Junction Action Group:

PCS is the Trade Union in occupation at Falcon House, since its construction more than 20 years ago. Many of PCS’s staff either live locally in Clapham Junction area or are reliant on the proximity of rail services at Clapham Junction station for their journey to work. The PCS is one of the few major employers still present in Clapham Junction, with a staff of approximately 240 who, together , contribute significantly to the social and economic life of the centre. As the Head Quarter of a trade union with 300,000 members, Falcon House receives as many as 350 visitors per week according to a contribution sent to the Planning Application Committee in 2009.

In their objection to the proposal to erect two 42 storey towers at the station in 2009, they told the Council that the developer’s proposal was making “no reference on effects of the loss of 241 full time jobs in Clapham Junction“. Therefore we can only be surprised now that the same people who objected against the loss of jobs are fulfilling quietly the same purpose.

In a submission to the Council, the Clapham Junction Action Group wrote at that same time:

“The fundamental problem with the scheme is that it has been developed under a system of appraisal that has only looked at the values of office space as is currently available at Clapham Junction. With the availability of only sub-prime office stock, and inadequate levels of floor space availability, the current market for office is severely under-shopped and under-valued. If the development were to seek to establish prime office units at this location, then the evaluation of these units, based upon the accessibility of the location, would be quite different. It would then work to set a new benchmark to enable further inward investment and development of office and workspace uses in the area, including land at LIDL and Boots. 
With such great accessibility to Central London, both airports, and the highly skilled and qualified workforce of South West London and Surrey, this location could easily attract a major international company as an occupier, lifting up the business profile of Wandsworth as a whole. 
[...] More residential will do nothing to improve the area and provide little in the way of a much needed daytime economy for caterers, service providers, retailers and convenience stores in the area.  
Without developing a stronger daytime population at this location the viability, of the whole retail scheme is at risk; considering the fact that the Westfield London is only 11 minutes away, and will only become more accessible as the London Overground service improves over time.”
It was valid in 2009, it’s even more valid in 2014!

It is about time the union leadership, the so called "socialists" of Left Unity actually issued a statement about the sale.

Meanwhile PCS is struggling to re-sign it's members so has decided to offer prizes if you sign up before January:

You can help secure our future and stay protected at work with an independent voice against a hostile employer and you could win a big cash prize in the new year by taking three minutes to register on-line to pay your PCS subs by direct debit.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This is an unnecessary political move by the Tories but we’ll not let them undermine us. Please sign up today to help us remain strong and independent."

Here are the prizes:
1st £1,200
2nd £200
3rd £100.

The prize fund has been donated by Thompson solicitors and is open to all who have registered by 1 January, 2015.

Frankly given that the PCS Grandees aren't being open with us and are planning to throw our scarce resources into some ridiculous grandstanding in the general election next year I'm not sure that's much of an incentive.

We need an open, democratic, representative trade union. Not a pseudo-political party for the benefit of the activist class.

PCS is clearly not up to that.

The clock is ticking

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