Sunday, 15 March 2015

Francis Maude to target PCS over Unite "merger"?

The continuing collapse of PCS is likely to lead to a renewed focus on a merger (nee takeover )of the largest civil service union.

Faced with difficulties in signing up large layers of it's membership as check off ends in the two largest departments (DWP this month & HMRC in April) and facing competition from new unions like the RCTU and Unison, which now has negotiating rights in the civil service, the PCS leadership has kept it's options open.

Despite losing an initial policy motion at last years conference, delegates did agree to continue talks with "conditions" attached. However given the financial state PCS is likely to find itself in over the next year, especially now the sale of their major financial asset the headquarters building has been "put on hold" the impetus for a merger may be take on a new life.

However the proposed merger has caught the attention of Francis Maude who responded to a query about a possible merger with Labour affiliated Unite by Tory MP Charlie Elphick thus:

The perception of political impartiality in the civil service is fundamental to our system of government and that should not be imperilled in any way.

This indicates that a future Tory government, still possible given the perilous nature of the opinion polls, may act to prevent this.

Now as a former member of PCS and now in Prospect I do believe that the civil service should be independent of political parties and oppose the unions affiliating to any party. Concerns have been expressed about the involvement of individual leaders of PCS who are involved in extremist political organisations such as the Socialist Party (Militant) and the Socialist Workers Party being at the centre of the so-called Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition.

There is a difference between Individuals undertaking political activity which is covered by existing civil service rules and an entire apparatus consisting of (mainly) civil servants undertaking a role which would be orientated to one political party.

Certainly the PCS leadership will face new difficulties if the merger process goes ahead. A warning shot has been fired across their bows whether one agrees with Maude or not.

Problem is the PCS leadership are notoriously self destructive, with at least one TUSC  activists claiming that several of the unions branches are helping in their campaign. The interests of PCS members (and those of other unions) would actually be better served by the return of a Labour government.

However the sectarians that control PCS seem to prefer the idea of another Tory government as it would suit their ideological interests better.

The fact members (of all unions) would suffer in the interim does not matter to these ideologues.

That's why PCS is becoming a failed union. 


  1. I think it is time for PCS Members to look to new leadership the RCTU and Prospect are but two worthy of looking into.

  2. Howie - how silly a story is this, buying into the Maude line.

    Unite already has members in the civil service as you well know. And whatever the rights and wrongs about Unison recognition, you well know they're a Labour affiliate.

    So what we're left with is a Government trying to pick what unions we can join. Very dangerous.

    Do you really think they will stop at PCS and not move onto others.?

  3. Actually this is not "buying into the Maude line", just an observation Ian. Unite's membership in the civil service is not particularly noticeable.

    What is happening is entirely the fault of the PCS far-left leadership (which you are allied to) in taking the PCS down the road to being more of a political party than a trade union. If your Socialist Party mates had their way the union would be affiliated to the TUSC. Serwotka & crew have been using their PCS positions to try and create a new party to the far-left of Labour for several years.

    Some of us just had enough. That's why PCS is now in trouble. WE are making the choices about which unions we want to join not the government. It was nothing they did that led me to join a proper trade union, it was the ridiculous actions of the PCS leadership.