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From: The Socialist issue 1038, 16 April 2019: 100 billion for bosses - cuts for us. Fight for the socialist alternative

Search site for keywords: PCS - Union - Strikes - Pay - Strike - Marion Lloyd - Chris Baugh - HM Revenue and Customs - National Shop Stewards Network

PCS union: vital local strikes and a national pay ballot - vote for a fighting leadership

Cleaners organised by PCS on strike at BEIS, 8.4.19, photo by London Socialist Party

Cleaners organised by PCS on strike at BEIS, 8.4.19, photo by London Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Marion Lloyd, PCS national executive committee (personal capacity)

Huge attacks face workers represented by civil service union PCS. It is vital that the union elects a campaigning leadership, up to the challenge of fighting Tory cuts. National leadership elections start on 16 April and close on 9 May.

As well as the national executive committee elections which take place annually, this year members will vote for the union's assistant general secretary - elected every five years.

Socialist Party member Chris Baugh is standing for re-election as assistant general secretary. He is the candidate of PCS Left Unity, the union's broad left group. Socialist Party members Marion Lloyd and Dave Semple are also standing for re-election to the national executive committee on the 'Democracy Alliance' slate also supported by Left Unity.

Workers throughout the union are showing their preparedness to fight.

Determined cleaners at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, employed by outsourcer Aramark, have taken another three days' action. They are fighting for the London Living Wage and against privatisation. They want to return to direct civil service employment.

Strike action

PCS members at HM Revenue and Customs in Ealing have taken three more days of strike action to keep their tax office open. Ealing and Hillingdon trade union councils, the National Shop Stewards Network and others supported the picket lines and a rally held on the first strike day.

The strike committee will now discuss how to increase the pressure on the employer. Hundreds of PCS members' jobs are at risk, and any closure will hit the local community hard, a community already hit by austerity.

HM Revenue and Customs workers in Wolverhampton are now balloting for industrial action to keep their office open. It is crucial that the Ealing and Wolverhampton campaigns become part of a wider strategy of industrial action and campaigning across the union's HM Revenue and Customs group.

And to smash the Tory pay cap, winning the national pay ballot is crucial. With the ballot closing on 29 April, members must vote for strike action.

The Tory anti-union laws mean 50% of all members have to vote for the union to legally launch a campaign of industrial action. Branches all over the country have already met the 50% threshold.

But we cannot be complacent. Campaigning in the next weeks and days is crucial for the majority of branches to go over the 50% turnout.

The ballot result will be announced on 29 April. A resounding vote for action must be immediately supported by a strike programme to end the 1% pay increases of recent years.

The union needs to set out a detailed plan of sustained, national, group and targeted industrial action, and build up the fighting fund to support those members taking action on behalf of all of us. PCS must also urgently talk to other public sector unions about balloting their members so we can have joint action across the public sector to end years of pay restraint.

All these campaigns show why it is crucial to have leaders prepared to fight. If you want to fight all austerity, vote for Chris Baugh for assistant general secretary.

Chris has a record second to none in fighting cuts and privatisation, such as the attempted and defeated privatisation of the Land Registry. He has helped PCS resist vicious attempts to crush the union by the Tory government, such as the attack on 'check-off' union dues.

PCS members will receive our ballot papers in the next few days. Make sure you vote Chris Baugh for assistant general secretary, Marion Lloyd and Dave Semple for the national executive committee, and for all other candidates on the Democracy Alliance slate.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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