Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/610/8781
Civil service: young workers get organised
The PCS young members' network is one of the best organised youth sections in the trade union movement, giving young workers the confidence and skills to change their situation at work. Their national forum is taking place over the weekend of 6 and 7 February in Birmingham. Below, ALAN WARNER, chair of the PCS national youth committee, explains how young members are ensuring they play their part in protecting public services.
Many politicians and big business representatives say the public sector is over resourced and has had it 'too good for too long'. The press seem intent on portraying civil servants and public sector workers as overpaid, under-disciplined, workshy pen pushers. They equate the majority of civil servants, who in the main are low-paid, with Whitehall mandarins and consultants.
Instead of acting in the interests of ordinary people and looking at ways to protect vital services that millions of people rely on every day, the politicians want to protect and reward their friends in big business at our expense. By closing tax loopholes that exist and collecting the tax from the wealthy elite, the government could raise £130 billion.
Even though we have a strong voice in many areas of the civil service because our union, the PCS, is prepared to fight for its members, the reality is our members are constantly under attack. We are told to work harder, for longer hours, for less pay. Life in many processing/contact centres, where workers are watched and monitored every minute of every day, is comparable to the Victorian workhouses.
It is crucial that more young workers join and get active in our union and in our young members' network. We need them to help recruit young workers and join the fight for a decent future.
Young members in PCS have a vital role to play in the national campaign to defend the civil service compensation scheme (CSCS, see page 4 for more details).
If the changes to the CSCS are implemented, it will be younger, lower-paid members of staff who will be at most risk of job cuts and privatisation.
That is why one of the main campaign objectives is to include all new civil service entrants after July 2007 in the CSCS. We will continue to build our network and develop more young workers into effective workplace organisers. Our network supports the vital Youth Fight for Jobs campaign and we will continue to build links with other young workers, students and the unemployed to fight for a decent future for young people.
Held annually, the PCS youth forum brings together up to 100 young workers from across the civil service and associated areas. The forum will be used to plan activities for the year and elect the officers to the national committee.
It is an excellent opportunity for young members to develop skills in organising and campaigning as well as discussing how we can fight back against public sector cuts, shape the union's agenda and recruit and organise young workers.
This year a number of debates and discussions will take place, including on how to build Youth Fight for Jobs locally, on tackling climate change, on the Make Your Vote Count campaign and on taking trade unionism into schools.
In The Socialist 3 February 2010:
War and occupation
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis