After over thirty years of membership of PCS and it's predecessor unions I have decided the time has come to call it a day and leave the union. This is not a decision I have either taken lightly or indeed rushed into but one that cannot be put off any longer.
Since the current leadership under General Secretary Mark Serwotka along with the Socialist Party, SWP and other assorted malcontents of the far-left have come to dominate the unions affairs, PCS has been deliberately turned away from representing the members to using the union as a platform for the interests of political activists.
As a result the union has become less influential both with the employer (resulting in an inability to negotiate realistically), the other unions in the TUC and disengaged from the actual interests of the members themselves.
Both Serwotka and the Socialist Party have prioritised seeking to establish an "alternative political party" of the left. Serwotka threw his weight behind the appalling George Galloway's misnamed Respect Party until the fallout out with the Socialist Workers Party ended that alliance and now the leadership have a policy to "stand & support candidates" in the General Election which will lead to support for the Socialist Party's tiny and irrelevant Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition.
Even as the current financial crisis broke the comrades discussed using the unions limited finances to intervene in the coming election at their "Left Unity" conference late last year.
But it's not just the political nonsense that has brought me to this decision. It's the way the union has been run that is my other major concern.
In 2012 the union faced a major split (hidden from the wider membership) when the reps and members of almost a whole department, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) left en mass following Serwotka's refusal to allow them to negotiate compensation over the loss of strike rights when they were subsumed into the Police Force.
They have now formed their own successful trade union the National Crime Officers Association.
This caused a serious loss in both membership and income to PCS.
That has come back to haunt them as we have seen with the attempt to get Unite to literally take us over last year. Not a merger a takeover. During that debate we suddenly discovered there was a financial crisis as PCS has a pensions deficit of £7.5 million. And that was not all it would seem.
Without consultation and quite sneakily planning permission was sought and obtained for the sale of PCS headquarters in Clapham Junction. By the time anyone found out it was too late. The NEC have now authorised the sale.
The unions leadership blame the "end of check off" but whilst this attack on trade union rights is quite real, the crisis quite obviously pre-dates this.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) has even cancelled this years internal union elections as PCS apparently needs to save money. Therefore all these measures will go through without any accountability to the membership until it's far too late.
In fact it's far too late now.
PCS ceased being a representative union years ago. Members have been kept in the dark and attempts to tell members what has been going on have faced continual censorship.
Discussion on the setting up of the new Revenue & Customs Trade Union (a breakaway in the HMRC) was suppressed on the unions Face Book page and Serwotka even attempted to get this blog to take down an article published on the subject.
The reason? PCS is having difficulties in getting it's members to sign up.
In my view signing up to PCS by Direct Debit is akin to buying tickets for the Titanic after it's hit the ice burg.
PCS is beyond reform, beyond saving.
The time has come for change.
I have therefore cancelled my subscription to PCS and am applying for membership of Prospect, the other main civil service trade union.
Not an easy decision to make, but the right one and I cordially invite you to join me.
Please see here: Prospect website
I realise that this will be a major decision for many people, but one that needs serious consideration.
There is time for you to think about this as "check off" doesn't end until March in the DWP and April in the HMRC. If you are in the HMRC you may wish to consider the RCTU.
In case you are wondering what finally made up my mind about leaving PCS it was another act of censorship. The unions propaganda unit removed my post on the PCS Face Book page about Charlie Hebdoe. Too "emotive" they wrote to me.
Free speech is a trade union issue.
There has been too much secrecy and spin in PCS since the comrades took over.
Time to go.......