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Arguments for socialism :: Democracy
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The PCS civil service union pay claim for a fully funded pay increase of 5% or £1,200 minimum and a commitment to centralised bargaining has been rejected by the Tory government. Talks are ongoing but they are refusing to lift the budgeted 1% spending limit on civil servants' pay.
PCS members, in common with the rest of the public sector, have had a pay cut in real terms over the last ten years. But although very limited concessions beyond the pay cap limit have been made in health and local government there is, at this point, nothing more on offer for civil servants. This contrast in treatment is magnified by the offer to PCS Scottish government members of about 4%.
This is the background to the debate on pay which will take place at PCS conference on 22 May. The Democracy Alliance leadership (Left Unity/PCS Democrats) is proposing to carry forward the union's pay campaign to a statutory ballot of members, soon after conference. This will be in support of the union's pay claim and in the absence of significant progress in talks with the government.
In November 2017 the union convincingly won a consultative ballot rejecting the pay cap and in support of action. A statutory ballot can be won and conference needs to agree a strategy which will put the union in the best possible position to win the vote. This means one which is based on the maximum involvement of the activist layer in the union, in groups and branches, campaigning for and delivering a 'yes' vote. Also, our strategy must include linking up and coordinating with other unions prepared to fight on pay.
The pay campaign will unleash the anger and resentment felt by members on pay. It will also bring to the fore the many other grievances of our members on a whole number of issues ranging from office closures to attacks on pensions and redundancy pay.
Vote for Democracy Alliance/Left Unity slates in the PCS NEC and Group Executive elections which close at noon on 10 May and 15 May respectively
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Article dated 9 May 2018
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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