23 September 2021

DSG Group Conference 2021

The PCS Defence Sector Group (DSg) held its conference online this year for the first time in our group's history.

Among the key issues debated were the Covid 19 response, health, and safety, pay, apprentices the integrated defence review and organising. The DSG Group Executive Committee brought 12 motions to conference, passed with subsequent actions on the GEC to see that the motions are carried out. When the GEC set motions, it is to gain the conferences approval for their actions over the coming year. That is why it is so important to be part of the process deciding the position that your branch takes on these motions. This becomes the GEC's main task over the next few months; some of the actions from conference will carried out via the trade union side in the MOD.

Chris Dando opened conference with the Group President's address, covering the year before the Covid 19 pandemic and all the magnificent work PCS reps have delivered since last conference. Motions were entered and agreed by Standing Orders Committee in early spring with the agenda and running order issued online prior to the conference in June 2021. Delegates were able to participate from their own homes via the internet with conference following the same format as usual.

Conference heard the National PCS perspective from the National President, Fran Heathcote, and General Secretary Mark Serwotka, plus a contribution on organising from Julie Young regarding the way PCS branches can engage with members and build our union by establishing an organising culture, building for power in our workplaces, reflecting our membership in our structures and involving new members and advocates in everything we plan. We need to hold regular member's meetings, getting the personal details for all members and get reps in every single workplace where we have members.

Conference confirmed the DSg opposition to privatisation of Defence in the UK, opposition to military managers for civilians and opposition to performance related pay in all formats. The DSg conference condemned the manipulation of GDPR rules by employers to make organising harder for unions by stopping our access to lists of people in defence. This means the onus for recruiting new joiners into PCS swings to you the membership. If people join your workgroup or team talk to them about PCS, why it is important to join a union and what PCS can do to protect workers in defence.

Around half the motions will go to the MOD Civil Service Union’s AGM and if accepted will form the basis of the negotiations and demands we make from the department and other associated employers. This is one of the many ways that PCS represents your issues and is the direct link from your workplace via the motions passed at conference and then right up to the department.

Thanks to all of you that participated in the online event and to PCS staff in balloting and the central response team as well as the staff from Cue media who ran the conference online.