Passport office PCS strike in Liverpool
Passport office PCS strike in Liverpool

Nominate Marion Lloyd for PCS general secretary and John Moloney for AGS

PCS rep

PCS civil service union members have until 31 August to vote on whether they support the National Executive Committee (NEC) strategy in the national campaign, but the question in members’ minds is: “What strategy?” Strikes have been called off; reballots have been postponed. Even the levy has been removed.

The £1,500 one-time, non-consolidated, pro-rated payment has made its way through to members, who have found that it doesn’t cover a month’s wage – and in many cases doesn’t cover half a month’s wage. Many members have seen their 2023-24 pay offer – which is being offered department by department – in most cases half of inflation, and in all cases below inflation. Let’s call it what it is: a significant pay cut.

These sub-par offers have been enough for the NEC to disregard the demands posed by PCS Annual Delegate Conferences in 2022 and 2023. They have gone to the departmental negotiating tables with lapsing strike mandates and no plan to back up their words.

This doesn’t even begin to deal with the outrage felt by many activists at how the question was posed in an utterly disingenuous way: “Do you agree with the PCS strategy to continue the campaign?” A true example of ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ – the NEC can scrap the campaign either way and declare a victory.

It is not enough to battle with individual employers, we need to be fighting against the 4.5% pay remit that stands in the way of our demands of an inflation-proof pay rise for this year, and 10% for 2022-23.

As soon as the pay offer was received, we should have called strikes. We should have escalated by scheduling national, regional and targeted strikes. We should have reballoted members in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which only narrowly missed the Tory anti-democratic turnout threshold.

There is massive discontent over the 4.5% remit, especially when it was followed weeks later with a higher offer for senior civil servants, and over the £1,500 payment. There is discontent over the job cuts that are coming, and over our continued pension overpayments, that take money out of members’ wage packets each month during a cost-of-living crisis and offer nothing in return.

Members need to vote ‘No’ in this ballot to reject the government’s offer and to continue the union’s national campaign on pay, jobs, pensions, and the redundancy compensation scheme.

Serious strategy

The PCS Broad Left Network, the socialist rank-and-file body in which the Socialist Party participates, puts forward a coherent strategy that reflects genuine analysis about what is required to win our demands, including a £15-an-hour pay floor, to seriously tackle low pay in the UK civil service.

  • National strike action across all civil service employers with a mandate
  • Targeted strike action across those areas where sustained action will resume pressure on the government to come to the table to bargain
  • Hardship support for all branches – we must target our resources to support those members in danger of defaulting on bills
  • Reballots in all areas where the mandate has lapsed or is lapsing, including the DWP and Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • A serious discussion on the potential impact of action short of strike action, in magnifying the industrial impact of strikes

General secretary

We desperately need a change in leadership. Mark Serwotka is standing down as general secretary and nominations for elections open in September. We need a fighting leadership that actually enacts conference policy rather than throwing it out weeks after it has been voted upon. A socialist general secretary at the head of a campaigning, democratic union could dramatically open the union up to the activist and membership base once more – which is why we are calling for all branches to nominate Marion Lloyd for general secretary, and to re-nominate John Moloney for assistant general secretary (AGS).