serwotka sellout sets seal on olympic exploitation

28 07 2012

By Adam Ford

As women footballers were getting ready to unofficially kick off the London Olympics, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary was preparing to bow to ruling class pressure, and call off a strike of workers in the Border Agency, Criminal Records Bureau, and the Identity and Passport Service. In doing so, darling of the fake left Mark Serwotka was setting the seal on years of collaboration between union officialdom and the London Olympics authorities.

Brendan Barber (TUC), Sebastian Coe (Olympics) and Ed Sweeney (ACAS)

Tomorrow’s aborted strike was originally called as part of a dispute over 8,500 Home Office jobs the PCS say are at risk as a result of government cuts. Had the walkout gone ahead, it would have caused some disruption to last minute Olympics preparations, particularly with spectators, athletes and others in their entourages still arriving in the country.

Serwotka faced a storm of pressure from the right wing abuse over the strike, with the usual papers seizing on the opportunity to bash the supposed “arrogance” of workers choosing to withdraw their labour at a time when it might have most impact. As could be anticipated, the media ‘debate’ weighed heavily on the ‘national pride’ side of the Olympics, and against working class consciousness. Read the rest of this entry »





pcs votes to join ‘j30′

15 06 2011

Steve Ryan reflects on the prelude to the upcoming day of co-ordinated strike action by public sector trade unions, due to take place on the 30th of June.

PCS members on strike in 2010.

So its official, the big strike on June 30th is on. Already the excitement is palpable with Scrota all over the news, twitter and face book full of delighted civil servants, all changing their profiles to reflect J30,
Read the rest of this entry »





time to build a new rank and file?

28 04 2011

Meeting to discuss building for June 30th: called by the London group of The Commune.  7pm, Monday 9th May, Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High St.  Map here.  Public sector workers especially welcome!

PCS activist Steve Ryan proposes a new way forward for revolutionaries in the workers’ movement

So the dust has settled after the 26th of March and the chattering classes on the Left now turn to June 30th.

In the past few weeks, several public sector unions have voted to take coordinated strike action over attacks on pensions. Mostly teaching unions, including the usually moderate ATL, they will surely be joined by the PCS after their annual conference in May.

Politics in PCS: not as bad as this photo might suggest

The left is very excited, with talk of millions of workers out and the possibility of pushing the TUC to coordinate action, effectively leading to a general strike.  There is no doubt that the move towards coordinated action is welcome. It has, after all, been a long time coming, given, lest we forget, that the cuts in public services have been going on way before the Condems cosied up. Read the rest of this entry »





huge challenges for PCS: conference report

23 05 2010

by Steve Ryan

Delegates from all branches of PCS met in Brighton last week for the Annual Delegate Conference.

Buoyed by the court decision that the changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme were unlawful, the spirit was positive. Read the rest of this entry »





civil servants strike on budget day

24 03 2010

Striking civil servants have set up pickets in Westminster to embarrass the Government on Budget Day. Steve Ryan reports.

Despite the excellent support for the two day PCS strike on 8th-9th March, it seems the government are refusing to negotiate on the changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

As such the union’s National Executive have called a further one day strike on 24th March – Budget Day. Read the rest of this entry »





mass turnout on pcs civil service pickets

9 03 2010

by Steve Ryan

Despite the usual bosses’ claims to the contrary the PCS two day strike looks to have been solid and successful.

Offices were closed services disrupted all over the UK. Significant also was the size of the picket lines, full of ordinary workers not just the usual activists. This clearly unsettled the bosses as many lines were challenged – with no success! The mood was very determined and angry. Read the rest of this entry »





all out in pcs!

27 02 2010

by Steve Ryan

Readers of The Commune may be aware that PCS members have voted to take action over the threats to the Civil Service Compensation scheme. This in essence means that 250,000 public sector workers will be out on strike on 8th and 9th March.

The strike is hugely important. The issue is about making it cheaper to sack civil servants. Whilst it is always unacceptable to sack workers, the relentless purge of the public sector makes no sense at all in a recession, with services suffering billions uncollected in tax. Indeed even the London Evening Standard ran an article on public sector pensions, pointing out how low they were and that any attempt to reduce them would simply mean an increase in benefit claims and hence no saving to the exchequer. Read the rest of this entry »





action around unemployment

15 02 2010

by Brian Rylance

For those who experienced the deprivation caused by the recession of the 1980s, and were galvanized by the strength of the fight against it, there can be a feeling of hopelessness at today’s relative lack of organisation and militancy to defend the position of the working classes as many are pushed into unemployment again.

Vast numbers of people who struggled against Thatcherism will have used one of the many unemployed workers centres and heard the unions protest on behalf of those without work, but what of this 21st century global recession? It must be admitted that the fightback has been slow in gathering strength, but there now appear to be three main strands of resistance appearing. At a national level there are campaigns to protect the rights to benefits and protest against erosion of the safety net welfare state legislation. This is linked with an attempt to revive the unemployed workers centres that have shut. At a grassroots level there are attempts to create action groups with a more combative approach – some of these have been remarkably successful.

Read the rest of this entry »





pcs to ballot for strike action

1 02 2010

by Steve Ryan

The PCS civil service union is to commence a ballot of all 300,000 plus members for strike action. The ballot is due to begin on 4th February.

It comes after talks on the governments proposals to cut the value of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) proved fruitless. Read the rest of this entry »





pcs in hm revenue and customs redundancies

14 01 2010

by Steve Ryan

Workers in 130 offices throughout the UK reacted with anger and dismay yesterday as the closure of their offices was confirmed.

The decision will affect nearly 3000 workers, some half of them being offered voluntary redundancy. Compulsory redundancy looms for those who will not, or cannot, go voluntarily. Others will be transferred to other more “strategic” offices, facing long journeys to work and vastly increased travel costs.  Read the rest of this entry »





pcs at the crossroads?

29 11 2009

by Steve Ryan

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS ) is currently balloting in a general secretary election. The union is one of the biggest in the TUC and seen as a left led bastion of militancy.

At first sight the elections seem unremarkable: the left poster boy Mark Serwotka is standing as the incumbent against only one opponent, Rob Bryson, who is standing in a last ditch effort by the  rump of the old Reamsbottom-led right wing ‘Moderate’ group. Read the rest of this entry »





the commune issue 7 – out now!

1 09 2009

The September issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

thecommune7cover

troops out of afghanistan! – editorial of The Commune

wildcats show how to fight royal mail bosses – by Paul Haste

government pressure on civil service: crunch time for pcs left – by Steve Ryan

wind turbine occupation ends, but struggle continues – by Gerry Emmett

purnell’s new ‘old labour’ is just new ‘new labour’ – by David Broder

resisting redundancy and recession: reappraising the tactic of occupation – by Gregor Gall

amey struggle: burn your bridges, save your dignity – by Mónica del Pilar Uribe Marin

latin american migrants: organising against racism and exploitation – by an Ecuadorian migrant worker

exposed: soas unison, rmt and unite cleaner activists in the pay of the bosses – by Chris Kane

update on the activities of the commune around britain

afghan women bear brunt of hypocritical ‘war on terror’ – by members of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan

yes, chris ann, obama is punking us – by Ernie Haberkern

beyond props for capital – by Allan Armstrong

liberalism, citizenship and democracy – by Mark Ellingsen

the workers’ self-management alternative – by Chris Kane

review of the july/august left press – by Nathan Coombs

building from below: the case for working in residents’ groups – by Dave Spencer

latin america’s future is being played out in honduras – by Roberto Sáenz





government pressure on civil service: crunch time for pcs left

23 08 2009

by Steve Ryan

The PCS civil service union faces yet another massive challenge.

pcs

The government have signalled the intention to alter the Civil Service Compensation Scheme  (CSCS) as it is apparently “too generous “. The effect would be dramatic, halving redundancy payments for example.

The union is getting ready for massive consultation exercise with members, No doubt industrial action will be necessary. Read the rest of this entry »





revive flying pickets and spread the actions

24 05 2009

by Chris Kane

For many union bureaucrats, hardened cynics on the traditional left and post-modern professors who believe the working class has disappeared, the events of the last five months must be very frustrating. We have seen the revival of unofficial strikes during the Lindsey oil refinery dispute, with the complete and open defiance of the anti-trade union laws. We have also seen a whole string of workplace occupations, the most recent being at the Ford Visteon plants in Belfast and London.

These past months of revived activity and assertiveness by workers have been remarkable: it is clear evidence that there is an alternative to simply accepting the recession. It offers the possibility of gathering together the forces of the labour movement to challenge the employers’ offensive now underway. The choice facing the working class could not have been posed more starkly than when Wales TUC general secretary Martin Mansfield called on the congress to “drive forward partnership working” with employers, a new wave of unofficial strikes were breaking out down the road at Milford Haven in South Wales spreading to Vale of Glamorgan and a string of other sites. Read the rest of this entry »








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