PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka defends the role of Home Office staff and criticises government immigration policies which have led directly to the Windrush scandal. This article originally appeared in The Guardian.
PCS general secretary, Mark was first elected to the post in December 2000. He was re-elected in 2005, 2009 and again in 2014.
A former clerical officer in the old DHSS, Mark is unique among his peers in other unions having come straight from the shop floor.
Mark is a member of the TUC general council.
Today we are launching a crucial ballot of public sector workers as part of our campaign to end the 1% pay cap, and secure pay increases for PCS members. We have been campaigning against the pay cap since it was introduced and I am proud we have fought austerity pay from the beginning.
You can’t make those policies popular, no one will vote for them, it’s electoral suicide. So goes the mantra when you argue for proper funding for our public services and those who work in them.
We have seen a fundamental shift in British politics at this general election. For the first time in decades there was a clear choice between what the two main parties were offering.
On Monday I spoke at an event — organised by Labour and alongside several other trade unions representing public sector workers — on the impact of cuts to public services and our safety and security.
Next week sees PCS’s annual delegate conference (ADC) in Brighton. This year’s conference comes in the midst of a snap general election, and one with the clearest choice for decades; from economic policy, to taxation, to public services, the Conservatives and Labour offer fundamentally different approaches.
On Monday I spoke at the May Day rally in Trafalgar Square, paying tribute to our Equality and Human Rights Commission members who are involved in a long-running dispute over staff and budget cuts of 75% and compulsory redundancies.
I know as a trade union leader that if I go into a negotiation with the employer my chances of success are fatally undermined if people supposedly on my team are speaking against me. Yet this is what is happening in the Labour party at the moment.