President’s column

As you read this, branch AGMs will be taking place all across PCS. Every branch will be holding one.

The branch AGM is every member’s opportunity to have their say in how our union is run and to propose changes if they would like to see things done differently.

It also allows members to nominate candidates for positions at branch, group and national level.

Read more about it in this edition and look out for material from your own branch about when your AGM is and try to get along. It is your union, have your say about how it’s run.

PCS has been campaigning hard against proposals to close offices across DWP under the guise of the People and Location programme.

Our aim is to protect our members’ jobs and fight for decent social security for those who need it and that means a service that is easily accessible and delivered by well-trained staff in the public sector. We need more staff in DWP, not fewer and there should be a job for every member of staff that wants one.

While there has been some success in redeploying members at risk of redundancy, there is an obvious need to continue our campaign for decent social security and that is why it is good to hear about regions joining up with community organisations as they did in London in December.

Read more about this in this edition and how the group executive committee are campaigning on your behalf.  
We all need a decent pay rise and although the Employee Deal is helping to bring pay parity with other government departments it doesn’t mean that DWP members are not an integral part of the national pay campaign. In our successful consultative ballot before Christmas, PCS showed that it is possible to smash the 50% ballot threshold introduced by the Tories to try to stop unions being able to challenge their policies, but only if we in DWP play our part.

We need a decent increase for everyone including those who opted out, those in grades not covered by ED and those not covered by DWP terms and conditions.

Inflation is now 3% which means that even many of those covered by Employee Deal will not see an inflation-proof pay increase.
When we negotiate DWP pay, it is made clear that the only way the DWP can give all members a decent pay increase is if we scrap the cap and ensure that the funding is in addition to the existing budget. We must send a clear message that we all need a payrise and we will fight to get one.

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