Friday, November 30, 2012

Fifteen minutes of Maude on N30?

A year ago today I spent the morning, alongside my son and many colleagues, on picket lines as part of the largest strike of my adult life (www​.unison.org.uk/acrobat/20452.pdf).

In the run up to that strike, as regular readers of this blog (Sid and Doris Picket) will remember, Francis Maude, on behalf of the Government, had suggested that - instead of striking for the day - we could organise "token" fifteen minute protest action with no loss of pay (http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15704451).

It's taken our movement a year to give Maude his wish, but today he gets what he wanted as an early Xmas present from civil servants.

The occasion for this is, appropriately enough, some characteristically Scrooge-like behaviour from the Coalition government.

In an attempt to encourage the worst employers to behave as they wish to, and to cajole better employers into following suit, the Government have launched an assault upon the terms and conditions of all civil servants (http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/index.cfm/id/C37B0DEA-2772-4471-9EB028EF3544B85A).

This is why our brothers and sisters in PCS are organising a series of protests on today's anniversary of last year's N30 in order to focus and highlight opposition to this attack, and to mobilise their membership once more for the seemingly endless struggle to resist the Government's attacks (http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/campaigns/terms-and-conditions/index.cfm).

This limited action points the civil service union in the right direction of mobilising opposition to the dilution of conditions of service, as opposed to the foolish approach of seeking jointly to manage detrimental change, which, as I pointed out a few days ago (http://www.jonrogers1963.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-fallacy-of-retreat-and-perils-of.html?m=1), is very regrettably being adopted in the health service.

The package of conditions of service which have been negotiated over decades and passed on to us by those who came before represent the product of past struggle and past organisation.

We won't reverse declining union membership in the public sector (http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/employment-matters/docs/t/12-p77-trade-union-membership-2011.pdf) with concession bargaining because if we want to inspire future leaders of future struggles we need to honour our past achievements.

Negotiators who approach an attack on conditions from employers from the perspective of looking to see what can be conceded, rather than how to mobilise members to get the best out of any particular situation, are lazy as well as timid. Rank and file organisation, with imaginative and skillful leadership, will invariably produce a better outcome than those who are experts only in knowing what cannot be done.

Today, PCS are showing a campaigning approach to the defence of conditions of service. Good luck comrades!

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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