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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 March 2019

MPs boost their own pay - Only action will grant us a pay rise

Chris Baugh out supporting PCS members on strike

Chris Baugh out supporting PCS members on strike   (Click to enlarge)

Marion Lloyd, PCS national executive committee (personal capacity)

MPs have given themselves a 2.7% pay increase.

It doesn't sound much, but for them it means a rise of over 2,000 a year - more than many members of civil servants' union PCS take home in a month. For us, the government's own workers, it is another year of pay caps and pay misery to look forward to.

Surely what's good enough for MPs is good enough for us. This is why it is vital that our members back the union's 2019 pay campaign.

A ballot will run from 18 March to 29 April. 124,000 members in the civil service and related public bodies will get a vote.

The ballot is for a mandate to take strike action in support of the union's pay demands. These include a 10% pay rise (2,400 cash underpin) and the restoration of national bargaining on pay and employment conditions.

Undemocratic threshold

Failure to meet the 50% turnout threshold prevented the union taking action in 2018. Despite a massive yes vote - 50,726 to 8,528 - the turnout was only 42%.

PCS assistant general secretary and Socialist Party member Chris Baugh says: "Busting the 50% turnout and a massive yes vote for strike action will put huge pressure on this weak and divided government and will force them to take our demands seriously.

"Many reps meetings have made it clear that they remain determined to do this. PCS activists again have a key role to play.

"The government's failure to take our demands seriously should lead to national strikes and targeted action.

"The latter will be supported by the strike fund - which the union is taking steps to substantially supplement through a 50p levy on members' subs on top of the 1 million allocated from the High Court victory against the Department of Work and Pensions for removing check-off - the right of PCS members to pay their union subs directly from their salaries."

The elections for the PCS assistant general secretary and the national executive committee will overlap with the union's pay ballot - 16 April to 9 May. And PCS branches are currently nominating candidates.

Chris Baugh is the assistant general secretary candidate for Left Unity, the union's broad left. Nominations close 7 March but it is already clear that Chris will receive many more nominations than the minimum 15 required to stand.

Chris has widespread support among the lay activists in the union. This gives good reason to believe Chris will win.

He is expected to be opposed by an ultra-left candidate and a PCS full-time official. The latter is shamefully backed by the Socialist Workers' Party and some others in Left Unity.

Chris Baugh and those who support him will be campaigning for his own election and the whole of the Democracy Alliance slate, which Left Unity is part of.

Victories on pay and the elections are our twin priorities in the weeks that lie ahead.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 6 March 2019:


What we think

No retreats: Corbyn must stand firm against Blairites


Workplace news

Stop post-16 education cuts

Interview with a shop worker

MPs boost their own pay

Workplace news in brief


News

Boot out failing Grayling and the other Tory wreckers

Solidarity with Chris Williamson

Trade union action to end low pay now!

A&E 4-hour waiting targets scrapped - Save our NHS!

Them & Us


International Women's Day 2019

A socialist programme to end women's oppression

International Women's Day 2019: End oppression with fight for socialism


Socialist history

Leon Trotsky's struggle against Stalinism


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: Fight council cuts

Cuts must stop - boot the Tories out

Wildfires hit Europe - build for 15 March student climate strikes

Swansea: Labour council tries to dodge no-cuts protest

Hull: support for anti-cuts policies at Corbyn solidarity rally

Hundreds of Tamils protest against death-threat brigadier


Opinion

Women workers' militancy during the 'great unrest'

The Socialist Inbox


 

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