PCS Scotland & NI is a national region within the union with eight full time officers, one temporary project worker, four organising officers and an operations manager/education officer.
We have a high learning, organising and campaigning profile in Scotland and provide bargaining support mostly to areas that fall within the remit of Scottish ministers.
We are affiliated to the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), and play an active role in labour movement campaigns throughout Scotland.
Details of our facilities and the work of our team can be found on these pages.
Union Modernisation Fund (UMF)
The First Minister announced to the STUC Congress in April 2016 that the Scottish government would set up a union modernisation fund "to optimise trade union work and to retain and enhance the role of trade unions in our public life". Unions were invited to bid for monies through the STUC on a match funded basis for projects in areas such as building the capacity of workplace reps to promote, organise and negotiate around the dimensions of the Fair Work Framework and to organise to utilise the existing skills of members to inform policy development in Scotland, economic growth and the delivery of effective public services.
PCS was successful in its bid to undertake two major streams of workplace organising during the first quarter of 2017 on tax and social security powers being devolved to Scotland under the 2016 Scotland Act.
The future of social security in Scotland
Following the Scottish Independence referendum and the Smith Commission in 2014, the UK government announced the devolvement of some social security powers to the Scottish Government as part of the Scotland Act 2016. The eleven benefit areas covered are
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA),
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP),
- Attendance Allowance (AA),
- Severe disablement allowance (SDA),
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).
- Carers Allowance (CA)
- Sure Start Maternity Grants (SSMG)
- Funeral Payments,
- Winter Fuel and Cold Weather Payments,
- Discretionary Housing payments,
- Limited powers in relation to Universal Credit in respect of payment options.
These equate to 15% of the UK social security system, though there is an additional power to create completely new or top-up of existing benefits which can be exercised by the Scottish Government to address perceived shortfalls in the UK system
Using the UMF funding engaged with 228 DWP workers from offices around in Scotland to discover their views on the future of social security in Scotland, in light of newly devolved powers.
The workers told us of a system in chaos, with welfare policy they do not support and crucially they do not think works.
Light at the end of the tunnel can be seen, if workers at the heart of social security are listened to in their suggestions to the Scottish Government.
We have produced an alternative vision of social security in Scotland and we have also made a film, using quotes from our consultation with members and interviews with PCS reps and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) Glasgow.
These were presented to the Minister for Social Security at a Scottish parliamentary reception on 18 April. She agreed to set up consultation forums between Scottish government officials and PCS so that we can ensure members’ voices are heard.
Our research report, “The Future of Social Security in Scotland: views from within the system”, co-authored by Professor Paul Spicker, will now inform future consultation with the Scottish Government. Hard copies can be requested from the PCS Scotland office in Glasgow.
Fighting for tax jobs, fighting for tax justice
A Worker’s Alternative
PCS has published a devastating critique on the impact of the HMRC transformation programme, ‘Building Our Future’, on the Scottish economy, following a high profile launch event at the Scottish parliament.
On 28 June, PCS members and representatives from across Scotland, including HMRC workers from every branch in the country, joined with policy experts, GEC members and MSPs in a packed committee room in Holyrood to discuss the report, “Fighting For Tax Jobs, Fighting For Tax Justice: A Worker’s Alternative” (attached).
Linda Fabiani MSP (SNP), Andy Wightman MSP (Green) and Neil Findlay MSP (Labour) brought cross-party support for the union’s findings on the changes needed to enhance HMRC.
The report, which is part of PCS Scotland’s Union Modernisation project, is the culmination of over 6 months of research and 18 workshops held with members in every tax office in Scotland.
Lynn Henderson, PCS Scottish secretary, said:
“Workers in HMRC have no faith in the department’s plans for change. That’s because the department fails to listen to the real experts in taxation: the workers themselves. We asked workers in HMRC a simple, but radical question: what would you do if you were in charge of HMRC? The answers are far more sensible, strategic and dynamic than HMRC’s catastrophic Building Our Futures programme. Our report sends a clear message to anyone who reads it. Only a well-trained, well-treated and well paid workforce working with a well-designed system can deliver tax justice.”
We will be using the report in the weeks and months ahead as we continue to take our campaign forward in every branch, with politicians of all parties and the public.
A copy of the report can be requested from the PCS Glasgow office - Tel: 0141 225 5150
Fair Pay Scotland campaign
As PCS members open their pay slips this month they will see that they are worse off as a consequence of the 1.4% rise in National Insurance contributions. PCS made the case to Scottish Ministers that they could mitigate against this in their 2016/17 pay remit guidance but they chose not to. Branches across the Scottish sector will therefore be distributing leaflets to members highlighting this fact as part of our ongoing Fair Pay Scotland campaign.
We are looking for members to become engaged in the campaign over the next few months by revisiting old pay slips and comparing them with your current one. Let us know how much worse off you are by sharing your anonymised pay slip with your local rep.
Take control of your working life. PCS is you, your colleagues and thousands of other members joining together for a strong voice and better jobs.
We are a powerful union of more than 26,000 members across Scotland, in the civil service or privatised areas. From court ushers and job centre advisers to tax inspectors and law enforcement, whatever your role PCS is the union for you.