Blog Posts

Organising in and after COVID-19: Part Two

Once the Coronavirus crisis is over, we will not simply revert to the way things were beforehand. For workers, many of the ways of working introduced during the crisis will persist. There will be fresh challenges as we face the threat of renewed austerity to recoup the money spent by the government to shore up the economy, and as bosses try to turn automation designed to cope with workers being unable to leave the house into a means to replace our jobs on a more permanent basis. There will also be the opportunity to organise differently, and more effectively, if we are willing to take it.

Organising in and after COVID-19: Part One

With the global Coronavirus crisis rolling on, one thing that we are seeing more clearly than ever is the battle lines of the class war. As much as some would like to promote a myth of “national unity,” with the country pulling together to weather the storm, the fact is that the bosses are still trying to fatten their wallets or minimise their losses at the expense of the working class. Organisation is more crucial than ever. Here are five things we can do to aid those organising efforts in the current environment.

Membership control of union struggles

The Rank & File Network stands for a union which takes a direct lead from members in all negotiations. This is part of a broader principle that workers should be in charge of their own struggles. What does that mean, exactly?

PCS: Challenges for 2020

We close out the year, and the decade, with the Tories holding a majority in parliament. The damage wrought by the last nine years of austerity looks set to not just continue, but to escalate. For PCS as a union, the key question is: how do we reverse course from a decade of defeat in this environment?

Civil Service Pay: Can We Win?

Civil service pay awards have fallen short of inflation year on year. Our real income is falling – our wages simply don’t go as far as they used to. After two years of pay freezes, a 1 percent pay cap was imposed in 2012 and the Cabinet Office has strictly controlled pay ever since. If the government continues with its current pay policy, civil service pay will have fallen 20 percent in real terms between 2010 and 2020.

Report back from our Manchester event

The aim of the event was, in essence, to begin a long-overdue conversation about how we organise as a union. We believe that the event met that aim, and we will be looking to hold further events around the country in order to keep that conversation going. The mix of open debate and educational workshop appeared to make the event more interesting and engaging than such an event might otherwise be and, with some tweaks based on feedback, that is a format we intend to continue with.

Event: Building a Fighting Rank & File Movement

We are hosting this summit in support of our aim to link up and support lay union members who want to build the capacity of the rank and file membership to take collective action: with the support of the union leadership where possible, and without it where necessary. The full day event includes debate, discussion and a practical training session on direct action in the workplace.

Build the struggle against outsourcing!

These disputes, and the victories they rack up, can give confidence to other workers that it is possible to fight and win. That won’t occur in a vacuum, however, and we all have a role to play in linking up different groups of workers in order to spread the threat of a good example.

Winning on pay: a view from the grassroots

Being well organised is exactly what success will come down to in this ballot, and seeing this union become well organised from the grassroots up is exactly what the PCS HMRC Rank & File Network is aiming for.