Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 May 2013

PCS conference sends defiant message to the government

Rob Williams
PCS national strike, 20 March 2013, pickets in Maidstone, Kent, photo Kent SP

PCS national strike, 20 March 2013, pickets in Maidstone, Kent, photo Kent SP

PCS union delegates met in Brighton for their annual conference last week to review the union's resistance to the Con-Dems' vicious austerity attacks.

It's clear that the union has been singled out for special treatment by the government because of the crucial role that it has played in defying spending cuts; especially in the campaign of coordinated industrial action by the trade unions that reached a peak with the 30 November 2011 pensions' strike (N30).

This attack was underlined as many delegates were for the first time denied facility time by the employer to attend conference.

There was a sober debate on the national industrial action campaign that started on Budget Day (20 March 2013) to defend hard-won terms and conditions alongside challenging the pay freeze, defending pensions and jobs, and resisting privatisation.

Despite its best efforts to reach out to other unions to coordinate strike action, PCS has had to take action on its own.

The union has been engaged in a war of attrition, with flexible tactics involving national and group action.

The next tranche of action will be headed by joint DWP/HMRC regional strikes in the week starting 3 June, potentially involving 140,000 PCS members.

There is also the possibility of strike action at the end of June to link up with the beginning of a rolling regional teachers strike, starting in north west England on 27 June.

A national teachers strike this autumn once again poses the basis for mass coordinated industrial action, up to and including a 24-hour general strike.

Time and time again in the group conferences, which preceded the national one, delegates heard of concessions being dragged out of management through group action - from stopping compulsory redundancies in DWP to protecting some workplace nurseries in HMRC - that has been almost a constant feature of union action over the past year.

PCS's role in heading up the general fight against austerity was highlighted in the debate on the welfare cuts.

The national executive (NEC) gave qualified support to a motion which called for non-cooperation with the vindictive sanctions against claimants.

The NEC made it clear that while all tactics should be considered, it must be to supplement the industrial action campaign, involving the maximum number of workers; but not allow members and activists to be isolated, which could open the door to victimisation.

Other debates included a possible merger with Unite and the issue of Scottish independence.

On Unite, a passionate debate saw motions with a positive attitude to merger but setting out clear 'red lines' of protecting PCS's lay member democracy, its fighting culture, and opposition to Labour party affiliation, passed on card votes.

This is a testament to members' determination to defend the culture that has developed in PCS since the previous right-wing leadership was ousted in 2000.

It also shows a total opposition to Labour that developed under the Blair and Brown New Labour years when 100,000 civil servant jobs were axed.

On Scotland, conference agreed to organise a debate among Scottish members that would see a special Scottish PCS conference determine the union's attitude to next year's independence referendum.

PCS has been engaged in a continual battle with the Con-Dems since 2010. Alongside other militant unions and the National Shop Stewards Network, it has been a key organisation in the anti-austerity resistance, as well as trying to maintain joint action post-N30. This conference ensured that this role will continue.

Joint regional strike action by PCS members in DWP/HMRC will start from 3 June see:

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

In The Socialist 29 May 2013:

Scrap the Bedroom tax

Evict this millionaires' government

Campaign to stop bedroom tax evictions!

Socialist Party editorial

No to terrorism! No to racism! No to war!

Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite to fight racism!

Even the cutters say cuts aren't working!

This is what's 'not to like' about Free Schools, Boris

Nasty party exposed by equal marriage bill

Stop the NHS privatisation rip-off

Socialist Party review

Rotten greedy banks still threaten crisis

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference sends defiant message to the government

PCS Land Registry delegates commit to action

Strike action needed to save Royal Mail

Wales TUC conference - a missed opportunity

No future with Future Directions

Fire service cuts

Workplace News in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Haringey TUSC: trade unions and communities prepare for 2014

'Brilliant' South West conference sees record turnout

Fund the fightback in the SP collectathon

Boosting South West Wales paper sales

Socialist Party youth organisers meeting Sunday 30 June, 10.30am-4.30pm, London

International socialist news and analysis

Oppose Kazakhstan regime's latest campaign clampdown

South Africa: Eye-witness to the developing struggle

Riots expose inequality in Sweden

Sri Lanka: Working class beginning to move forward

Socialist Students

Salford Socialist Students help lead fightback against job and course cuts

London students fight union closure plan


Home   |   The Socialist 29 May 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

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


triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation

triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield

triangleDramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts


triangleStrikers rally in Liverpool

triangleGeneral secretary coronation

triangleWarrington Socialist Party: The battle of Winwick Quay


triangleTUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

triangleEnd Tory war on poor


triangleSheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleMixed-fleet workers show strikes get results

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



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



Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme



Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers



Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system



RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks



Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests



End Tory war on poor



Nationalise rail now


Them & Us

Them & us



Tory housing policy: build zilch, hike prices



Make the Tories history



Birmingham bin workers win!


British economy

Amber warning lights flash on British economy



After the budget - unions must launch pay fight


Climate change

Carbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

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

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

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!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

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

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