Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 September 2010

Comprehensive Spending Review: Fight every Con-Dem cut

PCS protest outside Ministry of Justice , photo Paul Mattsson

PCS protest outside Ministry of Justice , photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The scale of the proposed coalition government public sector cuts is becoming more apparent. The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) on 20 October will destroy the credibility of the Cameron/Clegg mantra that "we are all in it together" and that the cuts are fair.

John McInally, Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) vice-president, personal capacity

The policy of the left-led PCS national executive is that these cuts are neither necessary nor inevitable. PCS rejects the "consensus" that the media and all the major political parties have tried to build that there is no alternative to the cuts.

Our material argues that public spending is an investment, not a debt, that cutting public sector jobs will cause job losses in the private sector too, that the massive tax avoidance and evasion in Britain must be tackled. And that investment in public services, along with bringing the utilities back into public ownership, makes the need for cuts redundant.

Unfortunately, the majority of the TUC general council believes that only a minority oppose the cuts and that the trade union movement must tread softly. Their 'strategy' is to await the return of a Labour government. But Labour is committed to cuts, the only real difference is timing.

Despite the 'softly, softly' approach of the leadership, the recent TUC conference reflected the growing fear and anger of workers at what they face. The main composite on public services contained key demands from left-led unions like PCS, RMT and FBU, including the important call for the TUC to coordinate industrial action and to take the campaign into our communities.

Danny Alexander, the Liberal policy wonk who is now chief secretary to the Treasury, announced the coalition would take the strongest measures to tackle tax evasion, saying up to 9 billion would be recovered. But Alexander is not serious. The 25% cuts planned for HM Revenue and Customs make his announcement little more than spin and hot air.

The TUC failed to back PCS's call for a national demonstration against the cuts on 23 October. Properly organised, such a demonstration would have potentially brought millions onto the streets and would have been a serious warning to the government.

The pressure applied by PCS, RMT and FBU has however forced the TUC to announce a national demonstration in March of next year. PCS will do all it can to make sure the TUC not only keeps its word and organises it, but also properly builds for it.

Build the demos

PCS protest outside Ministry of Justice , photo Paul Mattsson

PCS protest outside Ministry of Justice , photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

PCS is urging its members and activists to build for the demonstrations and other activities on the day of the CSR itself and on 23 October. There will be a major demonstration in Edinburgh and PCS is urging not only its Scottish but also Northern English members to attend.

Demos are being organised in other areas, like that called by the Bristol and District Anti-cuts Alliance. This body was set up by PCS, NUT and local community organisations and is attracting support from others unions regionally, including the GMB.

Building links with and leading the campaigns in our communities is at the core of the PCS anti-cuts strategy. Every time a library or swimming pool is ear-marked for closure the unions must be there offering solidarity and support.

PCS's industrial strategy is based on building the widest possible alliance amongst the public sector unions and wider. These cuts will impact on all, not just public sector workers.

In 2005 PCS was proved right in standing firm in the face of New Labour's attempt to steal our pensions. Several unions standing together forced them to retreat without a single strike day having to be called.

If the pensions review represents a major assault, then a public sector general strike could follow. 4.5 billion is spent on pensions for what are overwhelmingly low-paid public sector workers yet 10 billion a year is spent on tax relief for the richest 1%.

Industrial action against the cuts by individual unions, regions, departmental groups and workplaces is almost inevitable. Defeating the cuts may not rely on one or two set-piece national battles but the accumulation of disputes and grievances.

PCS will support all viable industrial action plans from its groups and branches but will also organise union-wide action when required.

PCS will do all it can to build the widest possible alliance with other unions and has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Unison. Given the nature of the leadership in that union, particularly its abominable witch hunting of socialists, there may be some surprise at this development. There needn't be, Unison and PCS members have a common interest in standing shoulder to shoulder as their jobs and services are attacked.

The real proof of the agreement will be not just how it all works at national level but in building the strongest possible links and unity in action at regional, city, and local level.

Working people and the union movement face their biggest threat since the 1920s but this government has no mandate for its cuts. The coalition can be broken and defeated. PCS's strategy is clear and is correct, no cuts, no division between public and private sector workers, build the widest alliance in the movement and our communities and we will defeat these barbarians.

Government scores own goal

The coalition government is attempting to circumvent opposition to their attacks on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

They want to force a Money Bill through parliament. But the PCS's parliamentary campaign has made a considerable impact. Every MP in the country was contacted by a PCS member.

The Money Bill device is usually only used in an emergency and we believe it is unlawful. It is being used to avoid proper scrutiny, particularly in the House of Lords where it is unlikely to pass without amendment.

The Speaker of the Commons will decide whether or not it is proper. If not then the legislation would be required to go through the normal procedures.

PCS believes the legislation in itself is probably contrary to European law, specifically the Human Rights Act which specifies a government cannot legislate to remove a person's possessions, which includes pensions.

If this is so, it will open up a major legal battle in Europe that might take years to resolve. It would allow any worker made redundant under the new legislation the opportunity to take legal action for compensation, something that could run into billions for the government.

While the coalition had a clear majority in the recent parliamentary debate the pressure of PCS lobbying and the potential pitfalls were reflected in contributions from ministers and MPs who were not quite so arrogant as they were when they first announced the legislation and expected PCS to roll over.

The debate contained direct attacks on PCS for refusing to bow to New Labour's detrimental scheme. They tried to paint the union as unreasonable and isolated from the other unions. This cuts little ice as PCS represents 80% of those affected and was the only union to regularly consult its members rather than just accepting worse conditions.

However the coalition has scored an own goal by its even more draconian proposals which have united the civil service in opposition, something that PCS will work hard to maintain but not at the cost of selling out our members' rights.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 22 September 2010:

Brutal bosses? Time to fight back!

Birmingham: Solidarity with council workers

Socialist Party youth and students

Stop the higher education lock out!

The Student Socialist:: Issue 8 1.50

International socialist news and analysis

For a 24-hour all-Europe general strike

Spain: class struggle the biggest show in town

Kashmir: An eyewitness to oppression in the valley

'Death of democracy' in Sri Lanka

Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010 - a weekend of discussion and debate

Socialist Party news and analysis

Countering the Con-Dem government's offensive

Stroud says no to BNP media centre

Bosses want workers' pensions axed

Trade unionists challenge Lib-Dems

Fast news

CNWP extended steering committee meeting

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

The sorry saga of Corus steel

Ex-Jarvis workers face more attacks

Tyneside Safety Glass: Stop the decline to the minimum wage!

Workplace news in brief

Fight every Con-Dem cut

Hastings demo against attacks on union officials

Organising to save jobs and services

Determined, widespread union action needed

Why London firefighters oppose 'reforms'

23 October march against cuts: RMT calls London demo

Socialist Party feature

The beauty industry: out of control?

Diminished responsibility

Socialist Party campaigns

Coventry 'one-stop' protest

Building the anti-cuts fightback: Local campaign launches

Save Southampton Libraries


Home   |   The Socialist 22 September 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

trianglePCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

trianglePCS union says no to pay misery

triangleDWP to outsource more work to Capita


triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!


triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleAfter the budget - unions must launch pay fight

triangleChatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

Public sector:

triangleBosses say 217 years to close pay gap - workers' struggle can close it now!

trianglePay cap decisively rejected by PCS union members


triangleNSSN meeting brings together workers in struggle

John McInally:

triangleIncreased majority for Democracy Alliance

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Unite protest against blacklisting



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

More ...

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice