PCS conference fringe meetings 2019

Monday, 20 May


Lessons of the civil service pay ballot

When: 6pm

Where: Auditorium 2, Brighton Conference Centre (BCC)

Speaker: PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka

Chair: Fran Heathcote

Details: The meeting is for delegates to discuss the lessons of the civil service pay ballot, what worked well and what needs to improve, and how we can organise to beat the threshold in a future ballot.

Tuesday, 21 May


Rebuilding a just social security system – have your say

When: 5.30pm

Where: Auditorium 2, Brighton Conference Centre (BCC)

Speakers: Margaret Greenwood MP (Shadow secretary of State for Work and Pensions), PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka

Chair: Fran Heathcote

Details:  The Labour party is running a national consultation on social security policy. At this meeting an explanation of the policy will be outlined and members will get the opportunity to input via table discussions. We are in a unique position representing DWP workers but many of us also have personal experience of how the system treats our friends and families. This consultation meeting gives delegate a chance to give your opinion directly to people who might form the next government.


Is it time for a workers climate strike?

When: 5.30pm

Where: Syndicate 1, BCC

Speakers: Chris Baugh, AGS, Sarah Woolley, BFAWU Sakina Sheikh (Platform/Green New Deal), student striker

Chair: Jackie Green

Details: The student strikes rising up across the globe inspired by Greta Thunberg in Sweden have sent a sobering message to adults charged with safeguarding their futures. In the UK, rather than listening to their demands, prime minister Theresa May has denounced the strikers for wasting school time. In light of the starkest warnings yet on climate change and breaches to other environmental planetary boundaries that support life on the planet, is it time for workers to follow their lead and strike for climate too? This fringe meeting will consider these questions and initiatives graining traction such as the Green New Deal.

Wednesday, 22 May


New strategies for organising: data, digitalisation and trade union tactics

When: 12.30pm

Where: Syndicate 1, BCC

Speakers: Emma Rees, Momentum co-founder and former national coordinator, Nick McCarthy, PCS Director of Communications and Organising

Chair: Fran Heathcote

Details: Technology is changing the way we work. Digital changes have the potential to be beneficial or harmful for workers – what is clear is that unions must adapt to this digital revolution and use technology to organise more effectively. PCS has started to develop new digital tools, most recently with our Branch App and Phone bank software. Come along to this session to discuss how we take union tech forward to build power in our workplaces


Why we need an anti-war government

When: 12.30pm

Where: Syndicate 2, BCC

Speakers: PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, Lindsey German Stop The War Coalition convenor

Details:  Eighteen years of the War on Terror has caused untold misery and led to the spread of terrorism across the globe. Successive British governments have unquestioningly followed their US counterparts into catastrophic interventions and occupations from Afghanistan and Iraq to Syria and Libya with disastrous consequences. We need an end to the ‘bomb first, talk later’ approach. It’s time for a new foreign policy.


Representation in our PCS structures - organising for equality

When: 12.30pm

Where: Syndicate 3, BCC

Speakers: PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, Lynn Henderson, president of STUC, Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah, PCS Head of Equality and Learning

Chair: Zita Holbourne

Details: While 60% of PCS members are women, only 45% of workplace reps, 31% of GEC members, 32% of ADC delegates and 33% of ordinary members of the NEC are women. We will explore the underlying reasons and barriers to women getting involved. Our NEC are committed to improving the gender balance throughout all our structures and finding a solution. This meeting is an opportunity for delegates to contribute to this next stage of our work on equality, diversity and inclusion.


Civil service apprentices: PCS campaign for high quality jobs

When: 12.30pm

Where: Syndicate 4, BCC

Speakers: To be confirmed

Details: What has happened to the government’s flagship apprenticeship programme, which promised 30,000 civil service apprenticeships by 2020?

Beset by problems, most government departments are failing to meet their targets, and many apprentices are having a hard time. Some struggle to get 20% off-the-job training or receive sub-standard training – others are exploited and paid below the ‘rate for the job’. Many are young. Find out how you can get involved in our campaign for high-quality apprenticeships. Light refreshments available.


Fighting privatisation – support the Beis and FCO strikers - building union membership in outsourced areas

When: 12:30pm

Where: Room 1c, Brighton Conference Centre

Speakers: FCO Interserve and BEIS ISS/Aramark striking workers, HMRC Bootle representative covering ISS members, PCS General Secretary Mark  Serwotka  

Chair: Marion Lloyd

PCS members in BEIS and the FCO working as cleaners, porters and maintenance on outsourced contracts are on strike on 22 May over issues with pay, terms and conditions. 

This follows action taken by IWGB members in the MOJ, a campaign on pay justice for ISS cleaner in HMRC Bootle, and the House of Parliament security staff pension campaign.

Come along to this session to learn about how you can support these disputes, and how you can build union strength with privatised workers in your workplaces.



Employment law, workers’ rights and regulating bad practice under a Corbyn government.

When: 5.30pm

Where: Syndicate 1, BCC

Speakers: Laura Pidcock shadow minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, John Hendy QC, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka

Details: The IER report on a manifesto for Labour Law has become a potential blueprint for a new Department in a future Corbyn led Labour Government. Laura Pidcock has been working up the detail about how this new ‘Ministry of Labour’ would operate. Come along to this fringe and take part in the debate about how the civil service could be the driving force for change for all workers.

Page updated at 11.52am on 20 May to include the new BEIS and FCO fringe meeting.

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