I’ve got home from a meeting at PCS HQ. It was a joint Branch Committee of all the DWP Branches in London. Mark Serwotka led the meeting about the ballot currently taking place, and, depending on its result, the forthcoming strike action on 28th March. Mark reminded everyone about the basic facts around this dispute, namely, that, apart from some tinkering around the edges, what we are being offered isn’t significantly different to what we struck against on 30 June and 30 November. You work longer, you pay more, you get less.
Absolute Pay Cut
From April 2012 the first phase of the increased contributions will kick in. On top of us having had no pay increase for years, this will be an absolute cut (not merely in real terms) in our take-home pay. The money will not be used to support pension payments in future, it’s purely a tax on public servants! The previous agreement reached in 2006 has already ensured that the cost of our pensions is dropping over time.
The meeting was quite enthusiastic. There was anger expressed about the way that some other union leaders, whilst giving the “fight them on the beaches” speech on November 30th, had fallen at the first hurdle. Mark reported how we get emails from members of other public sector unions wishing they could be in PCS instead. Let’s hope those people stick together and work to change their unions’ leaderships. Meanwhile we must work to maximise the turnout and the votes in favour of more action.
We also had a speaker from the Commercial Sector about the ballot taking place for our members in G4S. As far as we are concerned, everyone who works in a DWP office is eligible to join PCS. Unlike other unions, PCS will not sign “sweetheart” deals and police its members! We should be encouraging ALL staff in our offices to join!
(for a longer version of this article, click HERE)