Sunday, 16 November 2014

PCS in trouble in HMRC

Writing in the Huffington Post, Mark Serwotka, the General Secretary of the PCS union states:

The revelation that senior HM Revenue and Customs officials have been plotting to undermine and isolate my union that represents 50,000 of their staff is not just shocking, it is sinister evidence of an increasing politicisation of the civil service.

It appears HMRC's top brass no longer believes the representative body for three quarters of its employees should have any role or say in issues that ultimately affect their livelihoods and the state of our economy.

The PCS union describes this as a "plot" to undermine the union and it certainly does consider all the options HMRC management could use against the union. Serwotka writes as if he is surprised by the policies contained in the short paper which PCS has helpfully published on it's website.

In fact the only thing that surprises me is the sheer naivety of Serwotka and his cohorts that management wouldn't have a strategy to oppose the union. They are after all the bloody management and are following the line put our by Francis Maude at the top of the civil service.

The only way this can ultimately be opposed is to replace the current Tory led coalition government which would mean ensuring a Labour victory at the next general election.

And Serwotka isn't up for that.

Trade unions have to operate in the political climate that actually exists in order to get their best for the members. Digging his heels under the table hasn't moved our interests forward one iota.

The campaign against "austerity" may be laudable but is ultimately impractical because this is the economic imperative that the government is working under and even if Labour gain power can only really be either slowed down or amended because the national debt does continue to increase.

In the mean time the union must learn to negotiate around the way cuts are implemented rather than just demanding they don't take place.

Before anyone asks, of course I don't want to see cuts, but being a realist, I know they are going to take place and the best we can achieve is to at least ensure that redundancies are voluntary, that early retirement schemes are available and that vacancies elsewhere are filled in as practicable fashion as possible. Not a perfect solution by any means.

In the HMRC PCS tells us that staff do not have have confidence in management. Not a particularly surprising fact. It's the same in many other departments, my own included.

However that doesn't appear to be translating into renewed confidence in the union. One of the reason PCS has reacted so badly to the recent proposal to establish a new union in the HMRC is that members are more than reticent to sign up for direct debit as "check off ends.

The unions own official figures show just 13.2% of PCS members had signed up by week commencing 4/11/14, a disastrous situation for the union given that the HMRC is the second largest group in the union. By comparison the DWP has signed up 34.1% in the same period, still a long way from the projected overall target of around 90% that the National Executive thought was achievable.

Given that PCS is now far removed from being the trade union it was set up to be, it comes as no surprise that its' faced one successful breakaway in SOCA and the establishment of an alternative union in the HMRC would seem more than viable given the circumstances.

The left seek to blame any scapegoat they can find for the poor position they now find themselves in but frankly given their dominance of PCS for so long they actually have no one but themselves to blame.

Frankly Serwotka and the Socialist Party led far-left who control PCS have marginalised the union to almost, if not totally, the point of no return.

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