by Steve Ryan, Wrexham PCS
As predicted in the commune the “Left” PCS union has now called off its planned industrial action over pay.
Whilst details are sketchy it seems that the NEC is claiming victory even though they appear not to have achieved any of their aims, most significantly an above-inflation pay rise for all and the de-coupling of progression costs from pay.
Any gains seem to have come from “recyclables”, which, ironically, predominantly stem from job cuts and office closures!
This is a real setback. PCS had a major opportunity to take on the government over the economy and force real concessions at this time of crisis. And it comes hard and fast after the failure of the “Left” NUT to call action. Members were again led to the top of the hill and then left there. This could, and will, be seen as a defeat if not capitulation by what is purportedly one of the most left wing unions. It will send signals to reactionary and conservative forces – but mostly to workers that gains cannot be won.
The answer in PCS is to begin the ardous task of building a rank and file to challenge the leadership and hold them to account – or by-pass them! This in turn should reach out across all unions to build a strong bottom-up organisation that is not just an electoral machine but is genuinely based on fighting for the interests of workers everywhere. There should be total opposition to all job losses, closures and pay freezes, make the bosses pay. Where possible threatened factories, offices etc. should be occupied under workers’ self-management.