Sandwiches and tea and coffee will be provided at the meeting, and as we have the room until 6pm there will be a quiz and a social following the meeting.
It is important that you come along if you can as this is your chance to be a part in democratically deciding the union’s policies for the coming year.
You can download the Mandate Meeting pack as a PDF document here or read the text version below.
- Chair’s opening remarks
- Emergency Motions
- Motions to Group Conference
- Motions to National Conference
- Any other business
- Chair’s closing remarks
Emergency Motion 1: ISS Cleaners ‘One for All’ campaign
This R&C Group Conference notes the launch on 28 March of the ‘One for All – Justice for HMRC Cleaners’ campaign, initiated by Bootle Taxes and Liverpool City & Netherton Branches.
Conference condemns the treatment of cleaning staff in HMRC by both the department and their employer, ISS, and whole-heartedly endorses the campaign’s aims:
- The Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage for all cleaning staff
- Occupational sick pay and holiday entitlements in line with directly employed HMRC staff
- Additional recruitment and offers of increased hours to reduce workloads
Conference therefore instructs the Group Executive Committee to:
- Publicise the petition on 38 Degrees through all available means in order to boost the number of signatories
- Ensure that updates on the campaign and any activities members can take part in are publicised through BBs and the PCS website
- Facilitate regular dial-ins to aid and encourage coordination between branches across the group
- Ensure that full support is given to branches in order to facilitate NDC submissions and industrial action whether this is on a branch, regional or group-wide basis
Conference further instructs the GEC to facilitate and publicise all necessary fundraising for the fighting fund so that members can be supported financially through any industrial action.
Moved by: Branch Executive Committee
Emergency Motion 2: Pay and conditions
This R&C Group Conference notes with concern the pay offer being recommended by the DWP GEC.
In particular, Conference is concerned with:
- The trade off of terms and conditions for pay increases
- The divisive nature of the offer, pitting members against one another
- The fact that members transferring from B&C into the DWP will be put at a substantive financial disadvantage due to the deal
Conference therefore reiterates PCS’s opposition to both the pay cap and to the detrimental changes in terms and conditions first put forward by the Cabinet Office in 2012.
Conference instructs the GEC to, in the event of any similar pay flexibility in HMRC:
- Submit an immediate demand for an unconditional movement of all staff to the proposed 2019 DWP spot rate
- Demand that negotiations on pay remain separate from those on terms and conditions
- Consult members on PCS’s demands going into negotiations
- Keep members fully informed throughout the process, using campaigning to reinforce the PCS position and ensuring that negotiations are informed as far as possible by the democratic will of the members
- Convene a summit of all branches to determine the recommendation on any offer, so that the decision is truly in the members’ hands rather than the GEC’s
Given that reaching this position in the first place would require campaigning and action, Conference further instructs the GEC to pro-actively campaign on pay rather than passively.
Moved by: Phil Dickens
That this conference condemns the HMRC senior leadership for its failure to adhere to its own policies and collective agreements in respect of redundancy avoidance and location strategy. The decision to issue 148 compulsory redundancy notices by e-mail sets a new low and is an indication of the contempt that Excom holds for its employees. The withdrawal of the “right” for members to be accompanied to meetings to discuss potential redeployment compounds the view that HMRC has now declared war on its own workforce.
Successive civil service People Surveys have indicated the lack of trust that HMRC workers have in their senior bosses; Excom’s response is to urge “engagement” and for workers to participate in a “conversation” with senior leaders. PCS members have been clear that this is a sham with any dialogue being one-way with decisions about HMRCs future direction already set.
The organisation’s change of leadership ostensibly presents an opportunity for a fundamental revision to the dubious course that HMRC has embarked on, which potentially puts the UK tax system at risk. PCS has led the call for HMRCs cuts and closures programme to be halted and subjected to public scrutiny and parliamentary oversight. Conference endorses that strategy and calls on the employer to halt the implementation of its location strategy and agree to a programme of consultation that will thoroughly test their proposals for the future of HMRC.
Conference agrees that if the employer were to fully implement the agreed redundancy avoidance measures there would be no need for any forced compulsory redundancies.
Conference recognises that the GEC has made extensive preparations for the eventuality that HMRC will not acquiesce to the demand for consultation and commitments on redundancy avoidance. The decision to prepare to ballot members for action in support of these demands is one that is not taken lightly, but in these circumstances absolutely necessary.
Conference endorses the GEC campaign strategy and instructs the incoming executive to seek to secure the following objectives:
- the rescinding of the compulsory redundancies announced
- a commitment to no compulsory redundancies
- a commitment to no compulsory relocations/transfers beyond agreed reasonable daily travel
- continue with our political and community based campaigns of opposition to the “Building Our Future” programme
- halt the office closure programme
- secure consultation about the future of HMRC
- safeguard the UK tax system
Conference instructs the GEC to continue to build and deliver effective industrial action to achieve our objectives.
The GEC is further instructed to ensure that all appropriate avenues are used to take forward the campaign with a view to maximising publicity and securing support for our demands.
Group Executive Committee
This conference notes:
- The Government’s continuing assaults on public sector workers and public sector services puts PCS members in the front line in the fight against austerity.
- That HMRC have already announced compulsory redundancies and have further announced plans to shed 25% of its already reduced workforce.
This conference believes:
- That as the Government seeks to shrink the size of the Civil Service, the risk of redundancies will only increase.
- That the cuts already announced, such as those in HMRC and the DWP, will prove impossible without redundancies.
- That if the Government are allowed to pick off one Government department at a time, it will reduce our chances of victory and it is therefore better to launch a united fight rather than sectional ones.
- That while we recognise union density has been adversely affected by the end of check off, all experience indicates that there will be an increase of members if the union is seen to be launching an effective fightback.
Conference further resolves to use all means, both political and industrial to build a united campaign across the wider trade union movement against the Government’s unnecessary and damaging butchery of the public sector and public services.
Conference therefore instructs the GEC:
To prepare and submit a case to the National Disputes Committee seeking to call a ballot for industrial action. This action to include strike action and action short of a strike. Conference also instructs the GEC to campaign as widely as possible, including with fellow unions and the TUC, for support for public services and public sector workers. In addition the GEC is instructed to give support to any group or workplace wishing to take action against the issue of any specific redundancy notice. This action can be in the form of protests, up to and including balloting for industrial action.
200033 – R&C East Midlands
PAY & GRADING
Conference notes the removal of a guarantee to move from minimum to maximum within 5 years has had a greatly demoralising effect on members below the pay scale max and acts to deter staff from staying with the department or going for promotion. Conference further notes that members’ performance is rarely assessed with reference to the length of time they have been in the job; we are expected to perform as well as the next person once training & consolidation has been completed.
Conference therefore instructs the GEC to ensure that future pay claims feature spot rates for all grades which all staff would move to once their training & consolidation has been completed, that these spot rates are equal to the pay scale maximums, and that the pay rate paid during training & consolidation is no more than £500 less than the spot rate.
Conference further instructs the GEC to make this a negotiating priority in future pay negotiations
200031 – R&C East Kilbride
Conference notes that some departments managements are attempting to push through major detriments to terms & conditions as part of pay negotiations.
These include an extension of the basic working week to Saturdays and potential 12 hour days as standard contractual terms as a pre-condition for any movement beyond the 1% cap.
Conference mandates the GEC & VOAC to resist the linking of revised terms & conditions within annual pay talks.
200148 – R&C Greater London Valuation
This Conference recognises that the AA grade has been effectively removed via a combination of digitalisation and increases to the national minimum wage. However, much of the work previously done by the AA grades still exists, and much of it is being done by AO grade and other higher grade staff.
This conference recognises that AA’s are still necessary to HMRC and the civil service.
Therefore this GDC concludes that the way forward is to integrate and merge AA and AO grades, in terms of both work and responsibility whilst retaining the AO grade pay scales. We the GDC instruct the incoming GEC to negotiate with HMRC to integrate all remaining AAs into AO roles and report back to conference next year.
200149 – R&C West Mercia
For the third time in succession this Conference censures the GEC for its failure to manage the introduction of PMR into HMRC. Whilst we all wish this divisive system could be removed without delay the reality is that our inaction over the last 2 years has put us in a difficult position. This Conference therefore instructs the GEC to take stock of their PMR policy and formulate a fresh and robust approach to challenging its operation in HMRC. This should incorporate the following strands:
- A clear and decisive negotiating strategy, policy and action plan.
- Discrimination and equality failures – obtain National, Branch and individual level data and utilise this to take cases to grievance and where suitable, onto tribunal level.
- Cost – obtain data from HMRC confirming recorded time on all PMR activities. Also use Branches to obtain data from office levels. Collate the data and challenge HMRC at senior level on the time being spent on PMR, highlighting the work that could be done instead.
- Support – where active Branches wish to pursue a more vigorous approach then GEC resource will be made available and active support provided.
- Engagement – use HMRC’s own 2015 People Survey results to emphasise the effect on staff and that PMR is discredited amongst them.
- Simplified PMR – negotiate with HMRC to require Directorates to use the option of the simplified version of PMR for AA and AO grades. Also seek to extend this system to higher grades, even on an individual voluntary basis. Each AGS to negotiate this in their own Directorates.
- Guided distribution – this must be removed as it steers the majority of the PMR process and causes huge stressors for members.
- Consistency – all Directorates should be following HMRC guidance and there should be no deviation or local initiatives used.
- Assurance – GEC must negotiate a firm assurance that the PMR policy will not be changed to allow members to be dismissed simply due to a must improve marking nor will it impact on pay.
Conference instructs the GEC to publish its updated PMR strategy, policy and action plan to members within 2 months of the end of this Conference and be in possession of all required data to formally negotiate with HMRC within 3 months of the end of this Conference. If at that time it is still clear that HMRC will not engage, GEC will ballot members no later than 31st October 2016.
200037 – R&C Edinburgh
That this conference condemns the situation in 2015/2016 in which new First Line Managers in PT Operations have started in their roles without having been given any substantial training on how to manage disabled jobholders in compliance with the Equalities Act 2010, or even training in how to apply the department’s own attendance management policies. Examples can be provided where people have been in these roles for more than 8 months before being provided with any such training.
This has led to worrying patterns of failure to make reasonable adjustments for disabled members, and also leaves members in management roles, even if they bear no malice towards their staff, open to the risk of grievances due to their lack of understanding and knowledge of the basic principles of the Equalities Act 2010.
Conference instructs the GEC to make the following demands to PT Operations:
- That they provide substantial & high quality training on these areas prior to new FLMs are given responsibility for managing any staff.
- That PCS has full input into the content and delivery of this training
- That PT Ops provide unequivocal guarantees that new first line managers will not be given responsibility over staff until they have had this training.
200119 – R&C Glasgow & Clyde HMRC and Valuation
This Conference instructs the GEC to enter into negotiations to remove the unfair guidance in place for managing attendance for probationers within HMRC, and replace it with the same guidance used for existing staff.
These members are effectively second-class citizens and the harsh management guidance is frequently used as a way to cull our numbers. The guidance for managing poor attendance for all staff already includes the draconian “consideration points” at which managers can take formal action. We already disagree with these consideration points on a fundamental level, and the “managing probationers” guidance now gives managers discretion to set their own consideration points for new starts who have been placed on a formal warning. Members who reach these arbitrary targets are then subject to possible dismissal without even the safety net of a compensation payment.
The GEC should report back with an update on these negotiations within three months of the close of conference.
200037 – R&C Edinburgh
That this ADC notes with concern the micro management of leave in PT Ops.
Conference believes that the process is unfair and discriminatory and a threat to flexi time. Conference also notes the process breaks both ACAS guide lines and HMRC on leave policy.
Conference instructs the GEC to
Ensure full flexi time working is protected
Ensure ACAS guidelines are followed so that members can have surety over their leave requests
Ensure that members working in PT are treated equally with all other HMRC workers
Look to taking any case where a members has suffered detriment because of the leave procedures to ET
The GEC is further instructed to use all means necessary to achieve these aims including industrial action.
200078 – R&C North Wales & North West
ACAS Bereavement in the Workplace tells us that employers should prepare themselves to support its employees by having a Bereavement Policy.
It is with great regret that HMRC have no policy in place to support our members through what is a sensitive and traumatic period of their lives, leaving them open to a wide range of differing interpretations from managers who have no official guidelines on how to effectively support them following their loss.
Currently employees can be subject to the Managing Sickness Absence Policy when suffering from bereavement.
At a time when compassion is needed the most, employees are having to suffer the extra stress and anxiety of possibly attending a Formal Meetings, furthermore being subject to a Formal Stage 1/2 Sickness Absence warnings.
As a Bereavement Policy is the recommendation of ACAS we should strive to achieve an agreement with HMRC that not only supports our members at work at a time of need but also sends a message out that the business and the union will actively work to ensure they are valued and not alone whilst coming to terms with their loss.
Any agreement reached should focus on a supportive rather than punitive process taking ALL circumstances into account and avoid any mechanistic approach as a ‘one size fits all’ criteria would be detrimental to PCS membership.
This motion calls upon the current GEC to negotiate a Bereavement Policy with HMRC and report back to branches by January 2017.
200146 – R&C North West and Central Lancashire
PART TIME & BANK HOLIDAYS
That this conference notes that at present, full time staff are credited 7.4 hours for a public holiday and part time a pro-rata amount. Conference also notes that for many members, especially those in contact centres, without full flexi the time required for a day off is 7.5 or the relevant pro-rata amount. Further to this, those who work less than five days, either on part time or condensed working patterns, will find themselves with an even larger difference between the time credited and the time needed.
Much of the time members have no choice in taking these days off due to offices being fully or partially closed, meaning they are forced to use annual or flexi leave to cover the balance.
Conference therefore instructs the GEC to enter negotiations with the employer with the aim of securing a fairer system for members affected by this situation. Conference also instructs the GEC to report on the progress no later than three months from close of conference.
200119 – R&C Glasgow & Clyde HMRC and Valuation
Conference deplores the current inconsistency in application processes, particularly in sifting applications, as demonstrated, by the significantly different scores staff have received when submitting identical applications for posts with the same competencies.
This inconsistency is damaging to fair and open competition and is detrimental to both external staff recruitment and to the promotion prospects of current members of staff.
Conference therefore instructs the GEC to negotiate with HMRC to ensure that fair and open competition is upheld by recommending that HMRC should validate for consistency and should also use a fully trained and dedicated HR sift resource to sift applications for both internal and external vacancies.
200114 – R&C Telford
This ADC condemns the failure of HMRC to take bullying seriously and its failure to take action against managers found guilty of bullying and instructs the GEC to demand figures from HMRC on the number of grievances upheld against management for bullying and the penalties imposed and use these figures to promote equitable treatment of all members regardless of grade and report back to members that this has been raised within 6 months of conference.
200011 – R&C Bristol West Country Taxes
This ADC considers the culture of bullying with HMRC as highlighted in the last staff survey to be disgraceful and totally unacceptable. It therefore calls upon the GEC to instruct every branch to undertake a bullying survey of members with completion of the survey anonymous and with the results to be published locally with a breakdown of responses for every constituency with a view to highlighting those areas where bullying is most prevalent. A summary of the national results should also be made available for the GEC to discuss with the department further investigation by each business stream.
200011 – R&C Bristol West Country Taxes
CIVIL SERVICE COMPENSATION SCHEME
DWP Fylde Central Benefits & Services (047139)
Conference rejects the sham consultation exercise undertaken by the Government in 2015 in terms of Public Sector (and Civil Service) Compensation schemes.
Conference was aware the threat from the Tories in January 2015 to cap the cost of an exit to £95, 000 potentially impacting all those earning more that £27, 000 if they won the General Election in May 2015. Conference notes that motions were submitted about this latest threatened attack, but unfortunately said motions weren’t heard.
Conference agrees that a new campaign is needed to defend the Civil Service Compensation Scheme from the latest attacks which if imposed would cap civil service pay-offs at £95,000.
The cap will apply to all forms of compensation including:
- redundancy payments
- pension top-ups
- compromise agreements, and
- special severance payments.
We believe that this plan will impact on staff who are earning just above the average civil service pay and who have long service. By including in the cap the buy-out of early pension reduction it means that even members who earn £27,000 but go early on their pension with long service will be affected as well as those who earn more than £47,400 who get 21 months’ salary.
Conference believes that in order to commence a campaign to oppose the latest attacks, there needs to be the following:
- Details to all members about the original attacks which ended (or at least the campaign appeared to cease) with the outcome of the Legal Hearing, the judge Mr Justice McCombe. Mr Justice McCombe said that because rights to certain redundancy terms had accrued through length of service, they were classed as a “possession” and should not be “interfered with”. But he also ruled that Government Ministers had not acted unlawfully because they had justified the cuts as a way of tackling the budget deficit and it was not for the court to interfere with the Government’s economic or social policy. In other words there are times when the Law doesn’t apply, or equally the Law only applies to some people not all and only when it suits.
- An acceptance that the issues surrounding the original attacks did not end, nor were they settled. During the period from the ruling to date many members will have lost ten of thousands of pounds in compensation and redundancy pay-outs.
- Issue an overview to Branches and Members providing a summary as the legal consideration of a continuation of the Legal Challenge to a higher Court (and ultimately to the European Court of Human Rights) was not favourable
Conference therefore further instructs the incoming NEC to continue with the campaign to oppose the latest, and original, attacks on the CSCS including methods such as:
- Media publicity
- Lobbying MPs
- Industrial Action
- further consideration of a continuation of the Legal Challenge to a higher Court (and ultimately to the European Court of Human Rights), or mounting a fresh legal challenge.
This list is not exhaustive.
Conference finally instructs the incoming NEC to keep Branches and members regularly updated as to any developments in the Campaign.
TRADE UNION BILL
Home Office Merseyside Branch (026124)
That this annual delegate conference notes:
Despite Britain already having some of the most draconian laws in Western Europe the Tories want to shackle our trade unions with yet more anti-union legislation.
The Tories want to impose new balloting thresholds for legal strike action that if applied to the election of MP’s would see some 270 Tory MPs presently in the House of Commons unelected.
These new thresholds are being proposed by a government supported by only 24 percent of the electorate.
The Tories also intend to offer employers a licence to break strikes. They will make it legal to use agency workers during industrial disputes to replace strikers.
Restrictions on unions’ right to fund political parties will not apply to the millionaires that back the Tories.
The Tories also plan to effectively criminalise picketing, to restrict union facility time, to lengthen the notice of industrial action to employers to two weeks’ and for unions to be forced to re-ballot after four months.
TUC Congress supported calls for coordinated resistance to the Bill including “the possibility of assisting in organising generalised strike action should legal action be taken against any affiliate in connection with these new laws”. And a pledge to support unions that found themselves “outside the law” if the legislation is passed.
The Tories have declared war on the trade union movement.
The trade union movement cannot submit to these new laws. The right to organise and use collective action are the most basic civil liberties. We won’t stand by and watch them be destroyed.
We need a massive campaign against the Trade Union Bill, but if it is passed onto the statute book we need to be prepared to defy the law.
Conference therefore instructs the NEC:
- To offer the maximum solidarity to all workers in struggle.
- To work with the TUC, other trade unions, and other anti-austerity organisations to build the widest possible resistance to this latest assault on our right to organise.
- To work with the TUC other trade unions, MPs, TUCG and campaign groups such as the People’s Assembly, Unite the Resistance and the National Shop Stewards Network to organise the biggest possible campaign of meetings, rallies— and action— to defend the right to strike.
- To prepare our members politically and organisationally to defy the law if necessary to preserve our ability to organise effectively against austerity.
National Executive Committee
Conference notes that, following the Government’s renegotiation of the relationship between the European Union and the UK, the referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU takes place on 23 June 2016.
Conference further notes that there are strongly held opinions on both sides of the referendum debate, in society as a whole and specifically within the trade union movement.
The funding for the main cross party campaigns which dominate the debate comes largely from business interests and the arguments advanced by the campaigns often reflect that fact alongside the dominant theme of national sovereignty.
In the trade unions the arguments are centred on jobs, the economy, the ‘social model’, i.e. the protection of workers’ rights, and privatisation. Some unions have clear positions to remain, others to leave and some have said that they could take a neutral position.
Progressive arguments on each side of the question concern the political nature of the EU, the promotion of neo-liberal economic policy, international solidarity and democracy. Unfortunately, however, the debate conducted within the mass media is dominated by the official leave and remain narratives, by Tory politicians and by arguments concerning migrant workers, in-work benefits for migrants, refugees and national sovereignty. In many areas of the UK this is merging into the general narrative about migrants, jobs and wages which has fuelled prejudice and myth in recent years.
Conference notes that within PCS there have been strong political arguments in favour of both positions in the debate advanced by activists within the union and that we have a diverse membership within which individual PCS members will also hold strong personal views on the question as citizens.
Conference agrees that our starting point in coming to a position on how to approach the EU referendum must be our clear and democratically agreed policies on campaigning for the alternative to austerity and for decent jobs, pay, pensions and public services. Given the dominant themes in the media and the polarised nature of the debate, there is a pressing need for concrete information on the effect of leaving or remaining on members’ priorities.
Conference therefore instructs the NEC to launch a ‘PCS informs – you decide’ campaign immediately following ADC. Conference agrees that this is the only approach to such a polarised debate that will unite the union and that will not compromise our policy alternatives. The campaign must actively take PCS members’ demands to both sides of the debate, challenging politicians of all parties to respond to those demands and providing information to members to make up their minds based on their responses.
R&C Leeds & District (200056)
This PCS ADC believes that the human rights and employment protections of our members are safer with Britain in the EU than outside it.
If Britain does leave the EU there can be no doubt the current majority conservative government will move quickly to erode employment protections to consolidate their grip on power even further. This would leave the UK as the second most draconian country in Europe after the dictatorship of Belarus.
The major players in the OUT campaign on the right such as Nigel Farage, Ian Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson are the most ardent advocates of this strategy.
The EU is flawed and is in need of democratic reform but this ADC believes that we should campaign for reform from within and
work with our sister unions across Europe rather than risk leaving.
The current major international debt, capital and refugee crises show that far from needing further nationalist solutions we need more international cooperation. The Syrian refugee crisis demands an EU wide solution and agreement on how to resolve it. The EU debt crisis needs a new EU wide fair deal to cancel debt, end austerity and invest in new green technology to build prosperity for all in the future.
This ADC therefore instructs the NEC to encourage all members to vote to remain in the EU and to campaign with other UK trade unions who share our view to encourage all eligible UK voters to vote to remain in the EU.
DfT – East Midlands (201051)
Conference notes that the government is committed to holding an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union by the end of 2017.
That the European Union has nothing to do with internationalism, justice or democracy.
That the European Union was from its foundation an organisation pushing the agenda of big business across Europe.
That with successive treaties and unaccountable new institutions – from the Single European Act to the European Central Bank- the EU has hard wired into its nature the enforcement of neo-liberal policies of privatisation, marketisation and austerity. The EU’s active promotion of TTIP is one indication of this.
That vicious racism is built into the foundations of the European Union – with free movement within the EU for those with the right passports being built on murderous racism towards our brothers and sisters from the rest of the world.
That any changes Cameron’s government negotiates with the EU will bring more privatisation, marketisation and racism.
That Cameron and his government will be campaigning for Britain to stay in the EU on these new terms, and a vote to stay in will strengthen Cameron, Osborne and their racist and austerity agenda.
That if progressive forces line up behind Cameron and help him win the referendum they will do a great disservice to working people.
That we should recognise the danger of leaving opposition to the European Union, and Cameron’s referendum package, to those motivated only by reactionary “Little England” chauvinism or downright racism – including sections of the Tory right and UKIP.
That we should therefore actively seek to work with the widest possible progressive forces to build a different, progressive, anti-racist, internationalist campaign against the EU, for a vote against Britain’s membership of the EU neo-liberal big business club
That such a campaign should have as its key themes: No to racism – inside and outside the European Union; Yes to internationalism-solidarity across all borders; Defend public services- no to privatisation; No to the European Union.
That under no circumstance should such a campaign have any truck with, joint work with or share any platforms with forces which espouse any form of racism – including Ukip. That we should oppose all forms of racism and attacks on migrants – that our stance should be refugees and migrants are welcome here.
That we should stand for internationalism and solidarity with struggles by workers and against all forms injustice across all borders – whether inside and outside the EU.
That if a progressive campaign against the EU is built, and Cameron defeated in his referendum it would be a near fatal blow to his government and bring nearer the day when it’s swept from office
Conference instructs the NEC:
The NEC organise a wide campaign of discussion inside the union, and to actively seek out potential allies in the trade union and progressive movements to urgently try to build a progressive anti-EU movement.
National Executive Committee
Conference notes that the election of a majority Conservative government in the general election of 2015 has produced an acceleration of austerity policies including cuts to public spending and a continuation of the public sector pay cap.
Conference further notes that the Tories have sought to reduce opposition to their cuts by introducing the Trade Union Reform Bill which, amongst other things, proposes to make changes to trade union Political Funds so that all members will be required to opt-into the Fund before they can contribute. Evidence from other unions shows that this would significantly reduce the size of the fund.
Conference welcomes the fact that PCS has continued to build its deserved reputation as a vibrant, independent and effective campaigning union despite the hostile environment we are operating within. PCS at all levels has campaigned consistently for alternatives to damaging and unnecessary austerity policies.
Conference further notes that the campaign against austerity has had a significant boost from Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Leader. His election has presented us with an opportunity to exert more influence on Labour’s policy development through our longstanding relationships with Jeremy and John McDonnell.
Conference agrees that in this new situation we need to review our political campaigning strategy.
- Conference notes that, following the Strategic Review consultation, the NEC has implemented the following action points:
- Continued our political campaign against the austerity policies of the government, working with political and campaign organisations to put forward an argument for a coherent economic alternative based on public investment.
- An intensive lobbying operation of shadow cabinet members, alongside our ongoing work to lobby politicians from all parties, in order to pursue our key policy and membership issues within each departmental remit has been agreed by the NEC and is underway.
- Development of constituency based campaigning through regions and devolved areas in support of our industrial campaigns.
Conference instructs the NEC to conduct a full review of the union’s political campaigning, bringing any new proposals to ADC 2017, to include:
- our Make Your Vote Count operation,
- the policy of supporting or standing candidates in exceptional circumstances,
- our relations with anti austerity parties in the devolved administrations,
- our relations with the Labour Party, including the issue of affiliation.
Conference further instructs the NEC to run a high profile campaign to maximise the level of member opt-in to the PCS political fund.
DfT London and South East (201053)
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party was a welcome surprise to trade unionists and anti-austerity campaigners. John McDonnell, now shadow chancellor, was the chair of the PCS parliamentary group.
Since his election Corbyn has stood firm opposing bombing Syria, against Trident, opposing racism and austerity.
The FBU decision to affiliate to the Labour Party.
However the Parliamentary Labour Party remains overwhelmingly hostile to Corbyn, Labour councils continue to make massive cuts and the Labour Party machine remains in the hands of people hostile to Corbyn and McDonnell.
The moves to create Trade Union Momentum, a coalition of trade unions mostly unaffiliated to Labour as an organisation of resistance that is sympathetic to Corbyn and McDonnell.
The coalition of the willing, the trade unions that were prepared to take a lead in organising the pensions strikes in 2011, were mostly not affiliated to Labour.
That Corbyn’s electoral success reflected the bitterness against the austerity project felt by millions and the desire to see an end to the rightward march of Labour.
That trade unionists need to do everything we can to support the Corbyn / McDonnell project in their opposition to austerity.
It was not an accident that the unions which took a lead in the 2011 pensions’ dispute were mostly non Labour unions. They were under less pressure to put Labour’s electoral interests over those of their members. It was the big Labour funding unions
that abandoned the fight over pensions.
Despite the millions that trade unions have poured into the Labour Party, once in office it has failed to represent trade union interests.
Our union should remain unaffiliated to any political party as the best guarantee of our political independence.
That the most important thing we can do to support Corbyn and McDonnell is to continue to build the movement in the streets and the workplaces against austerity and the anti-union bill.
Conference instructs the NEC:
To work closely with the Corbyn-McDonnell leadership of the Labour Party.
To develop our work in Trade Union Momentum – seeking the wider involvement of PCS members.
To participate in and build a general movement opposed to privatisation, austerity and racism.
To re-affirm our independence from any political party.
DWP South East London (047035)
Conference agrees in principle to affiliate to the Labour Party. Conference instructs the NEC to take all necessary actions to ensure this happens including any constitutional requirements to ballot members.
The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few; where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe and where we live together freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.
The cost of affiliation is £3.00 per member.