Monday, 12 January 2015

PCS frets over "leaked documents"

The crisis in the PCS union took another turn today as General Secretary, Mark Serwotka and President Janice Godrich published their latest self-justifying rant in which they complained:

Following the notification to branches of the NEC decisions, a private and confidential report which had been provided to the NEC was obtained by an anonymous PCS rep or reps and published on the internet alongside criticism of the decisions. The report contained highly sensitive information about the sign up to DD campaign.

(Read the full document here)

The comrades continue:

It is any rep’s absolute right within our union to criticise NEC decisions publicly and to seek to challenge them through our democratic processes. The recent decisions of the NEC will be held to account at ADC in May. However, it is an act of gross irresponsibility to publish information that will aid the government in its attack on the union. To present the Cabinet Office with internal data on our sign up campaign is severely damaging. It is an unjustifiable act and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

Actually the information about sign up is sent out to reps every week so is hardly top secret. The difficulties faced by PCS in some departments in signing up members by direct debit is pretty obvious. Management are actually more likely to be aware of the situation than ordinary union members to be honest.

Writing on the unions Face Book page, Fran Heathcote says:

I don't expect to convince you but at ADC 2014, no employer in the big depts had served notice, or even entered into formal consultation, we even got it in writing from HMRC that they weren't even considering removing check off. Life moves on, circumstances change and we reacted accordingly, we'd be criticised for not doing so.

Now here's the problem I have with the leaderships explanation of the financial crisis. It was during the heated debate over the attempt by Serwotka & the Socialist Party to get Unite to simply "take PCS over" that we as reps discovered the enormity of the unions pensions deficit. 

Some £ 7.5 Million.

There were assurances about the unions finances being made by Chris Baugh, who holds the unions purse strings and we were told that the union could survive as an independent body.

Next thing whilst most reps were on their hols the unions one major asset, the headquarters building in Clapham Junction had planning permission approved in preparation for a sale.

When the news broke there was quite a furore and it became apparent there was far more going on than we were being told by the leadership.

Next, just before Christmas the National Executive Committee announced that they were suspending elections (as they cost too much) and oh by the way they had sold HQ. The leaked document tells us that "in order to maintain the long term stability of the union":

The NEC authorised the Senior Officers Committee to agree the sale of the Clapham Junction building if a suitable deal can be reached. A bid from Brockton Capital was received which was the highest at £25 million and also allows a year of rent free occupation of the building.

Such an arrangement would obviate the need to swiftly move the London staff as previously planned and would mean that we would not need to pay rental and relocation costs.

Desperate measures indeed.

Now this document has been on line for quite a while now, but Socialist Party honcho Fran Heathcote is incensed:

..it contained info, not previously published, about the picture across the whole of the union and to share that on the Internet for all of our enemies outside PCS to share and disseminate was foolhardy to say the least. It had been issued electronically to only a very small number marked 'in strict confidence', so the idea that someone would choose to leak that for who knows what purpose, is concerning in itself.

I don't suppose the purpose could be to inform reps and members who have been kept in the dark about all these shenanigans could it comrade?

No wonder PCS is having difficulties in re-signing it's members. 

The cat is out of the bag as they say, and as members slowly find out how bad things are questions will be raised.

And with no elections there's no accountability. 

Will the last person out of Falcon Road please turn the lights out......

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