From the group secretary
The UK government believes that it can fix the economic crisis by sacking 91,000 civil servants, taking jobs from the very people that spend their wages in the UK, yet leaving wealth in the hands of those who do not spend money here because they hoard it in overseas tax havens. This is now clearly the biggest challenge that PCS faces as a union and comes on top of the cost-of-living crisis as inflation heads towards 10% in the UK.
We know many civil servants are doing the work of two people and doing overtime for free to do it. There are continual attacks on the staff numbers in the civil service with the right-wing press calling for the heads of civil servants to appease the hard liners in the Tory party.
We now know that the government wants 91,000 removed from the headcount. This is not about money, it is about human beings removed from the civil service. Whitehall mandarins do not know how or where to let the axe fall; no doubt the consultants and the outsourcers will be filling senior civil servants’ heads with ideas so they can line their pockets with our hard-earned cash. Privatisation is the spectre looming over this process, by shifting more civil servants into the private sector they can create profit for their chums and say they have reduced the civil service in one stroke.
If these jobs are privatised, they are still paid for by the taxpayer; it is simply that a 20% premium is attached to the bill to swell the coffers of private industry and that the outsourcers will try to generate this profit by cutting even more staff. Each time one of these contracts is let the MOD wants more done with fewer people and the privateers rush to comply.
This is not the model that will assist the economy to withstand a catastrophic recession to add to the woes of Covid 19 and the cost of living. We need wages in the pockets of working people to allow them discretionary spending and this must be achieved through higher wages in the public sector by taxing properly the people that have profited from crisis after crisis.
The DSg group conference returned to Brighton and a face-to-face meeting after two years of cancellation and online. It was great to see the group executive committee (GEC) in the flesh and I can tell you they had not changed a bit! There were over 20 motions to debate, guest speakers including the general secretary, Mark Serwotka, president Fran Heathcote, and assistant general secretary John Moloney, who spoke on the proposed cuts to the civil service, the need to organise and how we can get better legal outcomes for members; plus a presentation from the 1st Class credit union.
There was a session from the organising department from Pete Lockhart and a seminar on how we use health and safety to organise from Alan Dennis, which is available from DSG@pcs.org.uk as required organising material.
We had new members attending conference, with new speakers moving motions and successfully putting their positions across. Conference reiterated its position on pay, the environment, anti-bullying and harassment, hybrid working and working practices.
Bernie Pagent moved the northwest motion on victimisation, by telling delegates that the new MOD policy separates bullying from the legal definition of victimisation which has caused problems for our members. The motion calls on MOD to change this definition in JSP763. Bernie also moved the motion to protect apprenticeship posts involved in a post mapping exercise especially with the announcement on 91,000 job cuts, as well as motions on pay and excess fares. What links all these motions are attacks by the employer on you as workers.
The GEC supported the motion against the removal of excess fares and in supporting the motion Frances Lanigan said “the GEC welcomes the motion raising concerns that DBS were giving advice that excess fares could not be paid...” Frances moved the motion from the GEC that awarded the Distinguished Life Membership to Mick Mace.
Steve Robinson moved the GEC motion on OMEC saying “the incidents that we said would happen are indeed starting to happen”. Many people are leaving the MGS once they realise the true scale of OMEC. The GEC motion calls for a campaign to be organised against OMEC and its effects.
There was a low turnout for the 2022 conference which was disappointing as the same organisation is required for 1 delegate or 70. I urge all branches and reps to start talking to members now about attending next year's DSg conference and writing motions and speeches to move, second or oppose them. This is the conference where our group sets the direction for us and to do that fully we must have full representation.