Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/642/10406

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 October 2010

PCS fights to defend jobs and pensions

PCS's National Executive Committee (NEC) has rejected a "final offer" on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) from the Tory/Liberal government. The previous Labour government attempted to force PCS to accept new arrangements that would have stolen members' accrued rights and entitlements. Labour, and now the Con-Dem government, wanted to drive through tens of thousands of job cuts and privatise services as cheaply as possible.

John McInally, vice-president PCS personal capacity

PCS members took three days of strike action in March and, when the other five unions in the Council of Civil Service Unions (CCSU) agreed detrimental changes to the scheme, PCS continued the fight. PCS won two legal victories, establishing that the government's action was illegal and obliging ministers to negotiate with the union if they wanted to make changes to the scheme. Following the legal victory PCS tried to re-open negotiations but was ignored by the Cabinet office.

Talks were opened with CCSU but only after civil service minister, the arrogant millionaire Francis Maude, attempted to get round the law by introducing new primary legislation, in effect trying to hold a gun to negotiators' heads.

The use of a so-called Money Bill is intended to avoid proper Parliamentary scrutiny. The Speaker is shortly to rule on whether he considers this a legitimate device for such legislation. It is also hoped that the Money Bill will end our opposition to the government's attempt to cut the CSCS in an even more draconian fashion than Labour intended.

The Tories always intended to bring in far harsher proposals as they prepare for the most savage civil service cuts since the 1920s.

European law

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

Pensions are "possessions", and so should be accrued rights under the CSCS. If this is so and the legislation is forced through, it will open up a major legal battle in Europe that might take years to resolve and allow any worker made redundant under the new legislation the opportunity to claim compensation, something that could run into billions for the government.

Attempt to isolate

Maude now claims the five other CCSU unions sued for a settlement behind PCS's back. This was an attempt to exclude and isolate PCS, presumably on the basis that Maude could then go out and claim the other unions were the reasonable ones and PCS would never accept any deal. This is a direct lift from the tactics of the previous Labour government, but it has backfired.

The Prison Officers Association has now issued a statement denying it was party to any such agreement. The GMB and Unite have stated that they have agreed nothing and their members will be balloted. Maude has therefore deliberately attempted to mislead civil servants.

Negotiated settlement

PCS represents over 80% of workers covered by the scheme and no deal can stick without its agreement. PCS was proved right in challenging the previous proposals in the courts and in the process winning greater legal protection for members. PCS's position on a negotiated settlement is quite clear, we believe an agreement is possible but only if it is fair to all parties, recognises accrued rights and is fair to new entrants.

Even before the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) on 20 October we have seen cuts go ahead, including the recent shocking decision to close Newport Passport Office, an ideological cut if ever there was one, the Identity and Passport Service is self-financing.

Determined

The coalition is determined to slash the CSCS in order to drive through the cuts planned in the CSR. That is why the unions in CCSU who have broken ranks should examine their actions very closely and stop helping Maude to divide us in the face of these threats.

PCS's NEC has agreed to hold a policy (indicative) ballot of members and will recommend rejection of these proposals but will also ask members to endorse the union's strategy to defend jobs, pensions, services and conditions.

Overwhelming support in the ballot for the NEC's position will send the clearest possible message to those in the other unions who are compromising unity - get back into talks with CCSU and hammer out an acceptable settlement.

Simple message

It is almost beyond belief that the four "Moderate/4 the members" members on the NEC voted against all the proposals to fight these attacks, including bizarrely, the recommendation to write to Maude to resume talks.

PCS reiterates its simple message, these cuts are neither necessary nor inevitable, there is an alternative based on job creation, investment and tax justice and if we organise in our workplaces and communities we can defeat them.

The battle to defend the CSCS is inextricably linked to defeating the cuts and PCS will continue to fight for a fair deal.


An attack on low-paid workers

The money Bill would drastically cut members' existing rights, would cap all compulsory redundancies at a maximum of 12 months' pay and limit voluntary exits to 15 months' salary.

The latest "final" offer contains only slight improvements and savagely cuts members' existing entitlements.

The cap on voluntary redundancy has been increased to 21 months and the underpin for the lowest paid to 90% of average pay.

But there is no protection, transitional or otherwise, for accrued rights and the bill would introduce changes to notice periods, for example from six to three months for compulsory redundancy and limits scope for redeployment across departments.

PCS rejected the previous offer under Labour because it only protected 50% of our members, on the basis of a 60,000 underpin and a cap of two years. The new offer has no provision for members to earn any more than 21 months' salary or protection of accrued rights.

The proposals will be detrimental to the majority of our existing members earning more than 20,000 with accrued rights to two or more years of service.

The proposals do include a method of protecting the lowest paid. PCS welcomes this improvement for many low paid staff but says the median should be higher. However the absence of an acceptable underpin, reserved rights or transitional protection leaves many worse off than their accrued rights.

To sign an agreement on this basis would mean handing over the legal protection achieved at Judicial Review and would mean forgoing our rights to legal action - that is not going to happen.

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


In The Socialist 14 October 2010:


Anti-cuts campaign

Strike back at pensions robbery

Protest against the Con-Dem's comprehensive cuts on 23 October

TUC must name the date for strike action

PCS fights to defend jobs and pensions


Socialist Students

When they say fees will rise... we fight back and organise!

No to academy schools!

School students strike in Dover

Action against EMA cuts in Huddersfield and Mansfeild


Socialist Party news and analysis

Con-Dem attacks will lead to social cleansing

Labour shadows show: We need a new workers' party!

Children - a privilege for the rich?

Save Wanstead Flats


Anti-racism

Community organises to resist EDL thugs


Socialist Party workplace news

The battle is on over DWP pay

Fight Passport Office closure

Greenwich council threatens mass sackings

Workplace news in brief


Socialism 2010

Come to Socialism 2010


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

The general strike: Important tool of the working class

Will prices rocket up?


International socialist news

Stalinism and capitalism - a toxic brew in Hungary


 

Home   |   The Socialist 14 October 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

PCS:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleBalloting members on the pay cap

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

triangleSocialist Party PCS bulletin: Scrap the pay cap

Jobs:

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleMonarch abdicates responsibility to workers

triangleCapitalism and human progress

Pensions:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleCWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'

Cuts:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

Unions:

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Civil Service:

triangleCoordinated action needed to break pay restraint

John McInally:

triangleIncreased majority for Democracy Alliance

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2