PCS delegates demand national action

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THE Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) voted unanimously yesterday to pursue its ‘ongoing trade dispute’ with the government, including taking ‘industrial action’.

Moving the successful Motion A1 at the PCS’s Annual Delegate Conference in Brighton, Hugh Lalley, from the National Executive Committee (NEC) said it was a year since Chancellor Gordon Brown announced the axing of 100,000 jobs in the Civil Service.

He declared: ‘We will support industrial action at national, group and regional level when necessary.’

Tony Conway of the DfES East Midlands branch seconding the motion said: ‘This cull of jobs is the biggest in the history of the Civil Service.

‘We have already seen the reduction in services.

‘What we should have is a coordinated national campaign.’

Annette Wright, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Manchester Branch told the conference: ‘We are the people at the heart of this.’

Sounding a note critical of the outgoing NEC she added: ‘We are in a situation where that industrial action amounted to a one-day strike.

‘While we wait for a strategy to be worked out, we have 11,000 members who no longer work in the department.

‘We must have some national action. Let us unite in our fight for our members’ livelihood and our members’ jobs.’

Speaking in the debate, Jane Acheson, Leeds DWP Branch said: ‘These cuts are a disaster for our members and our users.

‘The turn-out from the DWP on November 5 was the best ever.

‘Industrial action is a key aspect of our campaign.

‘We are looking for London-wide action. We are looking for group action in the DWP.’

The successful motion instructed the incoming NEC ‘to continue and develop the coordinated campaign strategy based around:

‘• Bargaining at every level,

‘• Challenging plans and proposals,

‘• Industrial action as and when necessary, both at national and local/group/regional levels,

‘• Parliamentary campaigning,

‘• Political activity,

‘• Coalition of unions and organisations to defend civil and public services . . .’

Time ran out before another motion on this issue, proposed by the Home Office HQ Branch, could be debated.

It called on the NEC to ‘bal lot all members for industrial action across the civil service as soon as any member is made compulsorily redundant.’

At the beginning of the conference, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka presented the Annual Report.

He said: ‘The past year was without doubt the most challenging year PCS and its members have faced.’

Serwotka added: ‘The massive show of support on November 5, as up to 200,000 civil servants stayed away from work, showed people are ready and willing to make a stand, to stand up for their jobs and the services they deliver.

‘But November 5 was not the end of the campaign, but merely the beginning.’

He concluded by declaring: ‘Using everything in our armoury and if necessary industrial action, both on a national and departmental level, we will continue to campaign against such savage job cuts and for decent, publicly-run public services.’

Today the conference will debate the pensions issue and there are motions calling for strike action against the raising of the pensionable age to 65.