Check-off attack will not defeat PCS

Fran Heathcote, PCS DWP group president

The PCS civil servants’ union very existence has been threatened over the past year. The politically-motivated decision by the government to withdraw check-off as the longstanding method of paying PCS subs has tested the union to its very limits.

Check-off has now been removed in the Home Office, defence sector, DWP and HMRC, with withdrawal now being faced in many other departments.

However, in the two biggest departments – DWP and HMRC – sign up to replacement Direct Debit subs payment has reached 78.5% and 73% respectively.

In DWP we were able to mount a legal challenge against the removal of check-off which bought us an extra month until the end of April but, despite our solicitors pushing for an early hearing, we still await a date for a court case.

With the election of a Tory majority, any idea of the decision to remove check-off being reversed is well and truly out of the window.

But reps are working hard to maximise the numbers signed up to Direct Debit and also recruit new members to PCS.

It is easy to feel downcast after the general election result but the left leadership of PCS has shown that we will not be beaten by this hostile Tory government.

PCS conference Socialist Party meeting: ‘After the election, how do the unions fight back against the Tories?’

6pm at the end of conference, 19 May

Coffee Republic next to UMI Hotel

Speakers: Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe, PCS national vice-president John McInally, NIPSA president Padraig Mulholland (personal capacity)

Official NSSN fringe meeting: ‘Stop the union busters!’

Syndicate 1, Brighton Conference Centre

Wednesday lunchtime, 12.30pm, 20 May

Speakers: PCS DWP president Fran Heathcote, BFAWU president Ian Hodson, NSSN chair Rob Williams