Commercial Sector Association

The Commercial Sector Association (CSA) brings together reps working in the private sector.

The committee brings together reps from across the private sector and across several bargaining areas.

There is an elected committee comprising a president, two vice presidents, treasurer and equalities co-ordinator - and there are nine ordinary lay member positions. Elections are held annually and we encourage members from every private sector employer to nominate candidates for the CSA.

The CSA is responsible for ensuring that the voice of private sector workers is heard at every level of our union. It is responsible for making sure that the National Executive Committee is aware of our issues and interests and provides sufficient resources for us to address them.

CSA group secretary, Jim Knotts writes:

The Commercial Sector is the most diverse and challenging area that PCS officials operate in. Our membership spread covers huge IT contracts and small FM contracts, from corporate new hires to TUPE transferred ex-civil servants.
Historically our organisation began with the huge privatisations of the 1990s when civil servants were transferred reluctantly into the private sector and predecessor civil service unions had no structure for these members. With the formation of PCS came a desire to bring all the disparate privatised contracts together under the banner of the Commercial Sector Association (CSA).  Over the years the CSA has
developed and adopted the rules and tactics of the rest of the union, and adapted the democratic membership led approach that is a unique feature of PCS.

Whilst we have come from an ex-civil service past our membership is now far wider than only ex-civil servants. We recruit members of staff denied collective bargaining, offer cheaper rates and give you the opportunity to campaign for collective bargaining. At any given moment we will be running several recognition campaigns, but we have already achieved notable breakthroughs at HP, Fujitsu and Capita to name three.

As we grow into the private sector we challenge the existing industry 'rules'. For example we do not accept that off-shoring of jobs is inevitable and we campaign against it harnessing our members' enthusiasm and holding politicians to account.

We also cannot accept the prevailing argument that the only way a company can make a fair profit is by driving down pay and pension costs.

We aim to hold enough shares in our employers to allow us a presence at AGM meetings where we can intervene on behalf of our members, and we patiently explain to the millionaires on the Board the reality of life below the Living Wage.

Whilst we grow we also must not forget our heritage in the public sector. The vast majority of our members in the private sector are employed on taxpayer funded central government contracts. We too are affected by the austerity agenda and the endless cuts in funding. It is in our interests to campaign alongside civil servants against the cuts, and we share platforms with public sector workers explaining how the cuts in the public sector directly affect the job security of tens of thousands of workers in the private sector.

To continue to campaign we need more staff to join our union and more members to become representatives.

Trade unions are at their core volunteer organisations, and the more volunteers we have the stronger we become, and the stronger we are the more success we will have.

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