Facing the coalition, the civil service’s labour movement is split between outright opposition and constructive engagement. Matt Ross examines the tensions between – and within – Whitehall’s unions
The article goes on to demonstrate the fallacies of the approach taken by PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka and his Socialist Party allies along with outlining the different approach taken by the two other main civil service unions Prospect and the FDA.
Whilst trade unionists may not be impressed with the thoughts of Francis Maude, much of what has been outlined in this piece will be familiar to PCS members, especially those who are on my e-mail list and/or are readers of this blog.
You can find the article here: Disunion in the unions.
Unsurprisingly when I posted this the the PCS union's Face Book Page the PCS Press Office responded in a rather authoritarian manner:
"I've asked the CSW newsdesk what remedy they suggest for this misrepresentative and unbalanced feature, including unchallenged claims by Maude that are either untrue and potentially libellous (allegations about Mark that weren't put to us before publication) or illogical (CSCS would have been unchanged if we hadn't taken the govt to court), among other things."
Not sure how it's "libellous" in any manner, but the author did interview one PCS official Paul O'Connor for what is was worth.
However it does seem a highly accurate assessment of the state of affairs in the main civil service union.
A second and quite bizarre claim appeared in an article published by the rather shouty crowd who form the Independent Left faction in the PCS union.
Their activists have been at the forefront of complaining about the cancelling of election by the National Executive Committee due the "sudden" financial crisis that has come to the fore just before Christmas when no one is around to challenge the decision.
The IL claim that:
Just a few weeks ago a senior member of the NEC/Left Unity/Socialist Party approached the PCS Independent Left for discussions about a joint electoral slate. Our National Secretary said he thought agreement to such arrangement would be unlikely but IL representatives would meet with the comrade to hear his proposals but we would need to do so before our impending AGM if we were to report there a detailed proposal.
Why Left Unity would need to do this, given there is no longer any opposition in the union is very strange. As is the decision by the IL to publish this "news" only now.
The article can be found here: A Joint LU/IL slate proposal before the election was suspended.
Finally the saga of the cancellation of the elections has led some reps to thinking of calling for the intervention of the Trade Union Certification Officer.
One activist has already set up a website to outline the case against the cancellation of the elections.
You can find that one here: PCS Democracy Deferred.
It seems some activists will be busier over the holiday period than they expected.