Union stands to lose £6m in 2015 after government ends check-off

PCS headquarters ClaphamThe PCS is to sell its Clapham HQ, reduce staff and suspend internal elections in a bid to save money as it comes under attack from government union-busting.

The union has become a target of the government because, it believes, of its hardline stance against job cuts and its challenging of austerity.

The union says it will lose as much as £6m as a result of the government ending check-off (check-off is the system by which union subs are automatically deducted from a member’s salary) and a further £2m due to loss of membership due to job losses. The union is launching a fresh campaign to encourage members to pay by direct debit.

In a circular to members, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka and president Janice Godrich wrote: “The Tories are trying to undermine PCS as its foremost critic in the trade union movement. Our work on challenging austerity and importantly our campaign to promote an alternative, including our Tax justice campaign, have been widely supported and embarrassed the government.

“Our campaigning and industrial action has had some notable successes, including: winning over 1000 more jobs in the Passport Office, winning extra funding at Kew Gardens, stopping the privatisation of the Land Registry, and ensuring fixed term contracts have become permanent posts in HM Revenue & Customs.

“These successes, among others, were delivered by a combination of industrial action, political campaigning and media work that pressured the government into backtracking.

“It is because our union is a block on the government’s attacks that they are going on the offensive against PCS. Our effectiveness has made us a target.

“We will not allow the Tories to break PCS. But this is a very difficult time for the union. There will be debates and discussions on our strategy. Those debates are part of our democracy. Ultimately, as is always the case, PCS members will have the final say.

“The attack on PCS is a matter for the whole trade union movement. The government will certainly have other unions, particularly in the public sector, in its sights if it wins the general election. The issue has been raised with the TUC which is actively supporting us and media work is also being carried out.

“Branches will soon receive materials to assist them in contacting other unions in their locality, as well as trades councils, to ask them to raise the issue with their members, offer assistance, and protest to the government and to their local MPs.”

In a bid to save money, staff members will be asked to take voluntary redundancy, the union’s annual conference will be reduced by a night (as it was last year), national and group elections will be suspended for a year and the union’s Clapham headquarters will be put up for sale.

A PCS source told USI News: “We’d obviously rather not have to do any of this but we’ll emerge stronger and will still be around when the current crop of cabinet ministers are a distant memory.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Author avatar

Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

Read All Articles

Related Articles

UNISON delegates walk out of conference as venue sacks rep
Mon Jun 2015 /

UNISON delegates walk out of conference as venue sacks rep

Delegates at UNISON’s annual conference yesterday walked out in solidarity with a rep sacked by managers at the venue. Gardener Robert O’Driscoll, health and safety rep at Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), was dismissed on May 25th for gross misconduct and, following an internal appeal, his sacking was confirmed on Friday. The union […]

Read More