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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 February 2010

Young workers/students

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.

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In The Socialist 3 February 2010:

'Filthy rich' get richer: Challenge the bosses' greed!

War and occupation

Taliban insurgency, poverty and corruption Brown's Afghan crisis deepens

Chilcot Inquiry: Millionaire Blair has no regrets

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fight new attacks on London's NHS

Save our A&E!

Youth fight for jobs

Civil service Young workers get organised

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) activities

No cuts and no fees in further education

Young people blocked from access to education

Socialist Party news and analysis

Council criminalises dissent

Socialist councillors back school's protest

Weak growth - the best that capitalism can offer

Fast News

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Trade unionist and socialist coalition

Bob Crow launches Portsmouth TUSC

Scottish TUSC steering committee set up

TUSC Coalition sponsors

Socialist Party workplace news

Unison general secretary election: Fighting left challenge needed

Defend the four: Courts show what side they're on

Civil service strike ballot as talks fail

Fujitsu strikers determined to save jobs and pensions

International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka: Violent election campaign puts Rajapakse back in power

Tekel workers demand general strike in Turkey

Betrayed - PTSD casualties of war


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