National public sector campaign
The NEC discussed the development of a new national public sector campaign. This new campaign will see PCS fighting on three fronts to secure justice for members on the issue of pay, pensions and the civil service compensation scheme.
The union has been fighting hard on the three key issues and now national developments in each of them are coming together at the same time.
The campaign will adopt a new approach. New local campaigning bodies in towns and in the multi-employer hubs will bring reps and members together across the union’s Branches and Groups. Building the union and the recruitment of new members will be an important part of this ‘bottom up’ approach.
A special NEC will be convened in February to develop the campaign further and material will be published in due course.
The NEC was given an update on the disputes at the Foreign Office and BEIS involving workers employed by ISS, Aramark and Interserve. Since the NEC last met in September, PCS members striking indefinitely at BEIS were awarded the London Living Wage.
NEC members’ commended the brave action taken at BEIS and sent their full solidarity to members still in dispute at the Foreign Office as well as ISS cleaners in HMRC Bootle.
An update was also provided on the ongoing dispute at HMRC Ealing where members were re-balloted and beat the threshold. Strike action took place throughout December with further action to be held until the end of January.
In the DVSA, the NEC was updated on the dispute that has been ongoing since 2015. Following the action taken in September, the employer agreed to ACAS talks but these talks subsequently broke down. Subsequently, further action was held in December and the NEC will be notified of the impact of this action when the NEC next meets.
The NEC discussed the hugely disappointing general election result and there was agreement that the new government posed a serious threat to PCS members. The NEC agreed that the PCS parliamentary group should seek to invite members from the new intake of Labour, SNP and Plaid Cymru and Green intake of MPs. It was noted that although there is a limit on the impact the group can have in this new parliament, they still play an important role in building support for PCS campaigns.
Dominic Cummings & civil service reform
Dominic Cummings is Boris Johnson’s senior adviser and is leading on what is expected to be radical changes to the civil service and the roles of senior civil servants. Cummings is a longstanding critic of the civil service and a part of his plans is to massively shake up employment practices. The NEC agreed that although changes put forward by Cummings will affect senior civil servants and special advisers, changes to the whole of the civil service cannot be ruled out. It was decided that a letter should be sent to Mark Sedwill, the head of the Civil Service, seeking assurances.
The NEC was updated on the PCS Green Forum, which took place in November. Over forty delegates were in attendance and significant progress was made on building on the climate emergency motion passed at the June NEC. There was also an update on plans for further protests on the issue of the climate crisis and how PCS is getting involved. This includes the schools climate strikes, which are taking place in February and March, as well as further possible action during May Day.
Retired NEC Member - John McInally
Longstanding PCS member and activist John McInally announced his retirement from the NEC. John has been a dedicated and committed member of PCS across all levels of the union. The NEC thanked John for his tireless efforts for PCS as well as his work across the trade union movement. The NEC agreed to nominate John McInally for Distinguished Life Membership and the NEC also wished John a speedy recovery following surgery for a serious health issue.