24 May 2022

Fringe: fight brutal cuts and come out stronger

PCS members must fight the most brutal Tory attacks on the civil service and come out stronger, a conference fringe meeting heard.

Hundreds of PCS conference delegates attended the meeting in Brighton last night, also shown live on Facebook. And the venue had to be changed to the main auditorium because of the demand to hear a panel chaired by PCS President Fran Heathcote and speakers PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, Jeremy Corbyn MP and UCU General Secretary Jo Grady.

PCS conference will vote on 2 emergency motions which could lead to industrial action ballots. The national executive’s emergency motion proposes a ballot in September over pay, pensions and the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, while another emergency motion on the government’s plans to cut 91,000 civil service jobs says that we will defend members’ jobs and public services, including industrial action when appropriate.

Mark urged delegates to go back to their branches and prepare members to vote for strike action, in the event of a ballot being called, to give the union a fighting chance of winning and defeating the government's plans.

He said: “Industrial action will have an immediate and huge impact on a government that is flailing around lying from one day to the next.

“Even today we have all seen the pictures of Boris Johnson raising his glass quaffing down the champagne whilst our members are now being disciplined, some of them in the civil
service in a lower grade in number 10 Downing Street, while he walks away virtually scot-free. We should be angry."

Everything thrown at us

Jeremy, a long-term supporter of PCS, said: “The attacks which we received and still do receive were not about the individual, they were about the movement we all represent.

“That is what those very powerful and wealthy people were afraid of and that’s why we have to have something different to offer.

“If you look back on the history of your union over many years, you have had everything thrown at you.

“All of those attacks were designed to destroy and weaken your union - that’s why they did it.

“Because you are up against it for your very existence you will come out of this stronger, more united, better informed, more educated and more determined in defending your members' interests and the communities they serve.”

Jo Grady quoted Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, who last month wrote: “This isn’t a cost-of-living crisis, it’s a cost of electing the Tories crisis.”

She added: “You’ve achieved tremendous things. Whatever it is you decide at this conference, I hope that you can go back to your branches and committees and really inspire people and take the energy and enthusiasm and knowledge.”

PCS members can watch conference Live from 2pm by logging into PCS Digital.

Take action

Want to fight job cuts and campaign for better pay? Join PCS today.

If you are a member, get active in your union and join the TUC march in London on 18 June to call for a real pay rise and to oppose the cuts.

Complete our campaign action to email your MP – which includes a model email which you can amend with extra information in your own words if you wish.