pcs at the crossroads?

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. Continue reading “pcs at the crossroads?”

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union sell-outs – disbelief and dialectics

by Adam Ford

Many postal workers and their supporters were left disgusted and disbelieving on Bonfire Night. Billy Hayes and his Communication Workers Union executive had unanimously voted to sabotage a series of strikes which enjoyed widespread support, and guaranteed there would be no strikes until after Christmas. What’s more, they had gained nothing concrete in return. When the new year comes around, Royal Mail will still be looking to make thousands of workers redundant, and attack the conditions of those that remain. In the meantime, posties are already facing a meagre festive period, having lost hundreds and even thousands of pounds in wages on the picket lines.

A message on the ‘I Support the Postal Workers!’ Facebook group summed up the thoughts and feelings of many:
“All the postal workers in Stevenage are furious at the strike being called off. They feel that Royal Mail have got what they wanted eg mail being delivered for Xmas. As soon as Xmas is out of the way Royal Mail will be pushing the changes through and not giving a stuff about the workers. Some feel that they have lost wages for nothing.” Continue reading “union sell-outs – disbelief and dialectics”

reading for 16th november london trade union discussion group

The next of The Commune’s London reading groups takes place from 7pm on Monday 16th November at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street.

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The meeting is on the question of trade union democracy. The questions around which the discussion is based, and recommended reading material, are posted below. All welcome. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more details. Continue reading “reading for 16th november london trade union discussion group”

26th october london reading group: what are trade unions for?

The next of our London discussion meetings on workplace organising is to be held from 7pm on Monday October 26th at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street. We will be looking at the questions:

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– Why should unions remain independent from the state?

– What are the limitations of negotiating better conditions of employment?

– In what ways have unions become integrated into the administration of capitalist relations, and how can this be resisted? Continue reading “26th october london reading group: what are trade unions for?”

report of london call centre workers’ meeting

by Jack Staunton

On Saturday evening two dozen call centre workers from around London attended a meeting to discuss how we can best organise together. Although in the UK there are now some 750,000 people working in various types of call centre (such as sales, service calls and market research), very few are unionised. Employment is often very precarious, and the high turnover of staff in many workplaces means it can be difficult to organise, even though semi-casual work on low pay, along with management behaviour and petty rules, give plenty of reasons for us to do so.

The meeting took place as an extension of the AGM of the CWU branch at the Pell and Bales charity call centre in Old Street. Workers from another Pell and Bales site, as well as CCA International (sales), IFF (market research) and Listen (charity fundraising) attended to share experiences of standing up to zealous managers and recruiting people to the union, as well as to plan ahead to co-ordinate our organising initiatives. Continue reading “report of london call centre workers’ meeting”

again on ‘revive flying pickets and spread the actions’

Chris Kane replies to Gregor Gall’s critique of his article in issue 5 of The Commune.

Gregor’s response to my article is a welcome contribution to the debate on how we respond to the recession on the industrial front. I feel however Gregor misses an old point Marx made when developing his own philosophy of revolution – that the ‘philosophers have interpreted the world, in various ways. The point however is to change it’. In that sense my article was not only an assessment of the current situation but an argument of what should be done to change it. Continue reading “again on ‘revive flying pickets and spread the actions’”