The PCS delegation is speaking to a number of motions at congress - read the final agenda for the full list of business - and proposing 2:
Motion 25 - Brexit, racism and austerity
Congress is deeply concerned that in the aftermath of the EU referendum there has been a sharp increase in racial incidents and hate crime.
Congress notes that over the past six years there has been a growth in racism created by the right-wing media and the government’s increasingly vitriolic rhetoric on immigration, including the introduction of policies such as Theresa May’s “Go Home” vans. The referendum result has encouraged and provided legitimacy for the open expression of such prejudice.
Congress believes that the vote for Brexit was largely based on disillusionment and political disengagement in many communities that have suffered from underfunded public services and chronic unemployment for decades. Congress notes that the Migration Impacts Fund set up in 2008 to provide £50 million to ease the pressure of immigration on housing, schools and hospitals was scrapped by the Tories in 2010.
Congress condemns UKIP and the Tory right for channelling the injustice felt in many working class communities into blaming migration and migrants for low pay, unemployment, housing shortages and poor public services.
Congress calls on the general council to develop a new anti-racism campaign that is integrated with an active anti-cuts, anti-austerity campaign, including:
- Engaging with people over the issue of immigration by opposing all cuts in education and health services and calling for a house building programme
- Arguing for the benefits of migration and the free movement of workers
- A clear alternative economic policy that will provide decent jobs and hope for the future.
Motion 29 - Pay
Congress believes that the government’s one per cent public sector pay cap has been disastrous for economic growth, has increased inequality, and has led to a 20% real-terms drop in living standards for millions of public sector workers.
Congress notes the government’s response to a PCS petition calling for the end of the pay cap was that the policy is intended to “help put the UK’s public finances back on track”. Congress believes that the government’s policy has categorically failed, the public finances are still broken, and the deficit has grown. It is time for fair pay increases for public sector workers which would help to stimulate the economy and lift us out of the crisis the government has created.
Congress further notes that the pay cap has resulted in many union negotiators entering into deals with employers whereby terms and conditions are altered in return for pay increases. This can create tension between groups of workers and can weaken the unity of trade union members. Congress agrees that this can only be effectively opposed by breaking the pay cap.
Congress calls on the general council to immediately launch a high profile campaign for an end to the pay cap including:
- Urgently convening a meeting of public sector unions to plan joint campaigning during 2017 and beyond
- Actively supporting and coordinating strike action across the trade union movement
- Letters from the TUC general secretary to the government and all public sector employers
- A parliamentary petition and a national demonstration to build support for joint union action
- A series of major rallies and events in towns and cities across the UK to make the case against the pay cap and for united action to break it.