Focusing on members of the Public and Commercial Services Union • Nov/Dec 2011
Hands off our pensions
Public and Commercial Services Union | pcs.org.uk
30 Nov PCS members will be joining
millions of other workers to
take part in the biggest strike
in the UK since the 1920s.
If you want to stop the great
pensions robbery, make sure
you support the strike.
5118 Photo: Andrew Aitchison
For up-to-date information go to
Public and Commercial Services Union | pcs.org.uk
In view Mark Serwotka
5 All out 30 November Never before in my lifetime
Protect your pension, support the strike have so many trade union
members been prepared to take
6 Leading the way – Mark Serwotka action. Three million public
sector workers from 20 unions
PCS’s general secretary explains why
will be standing together on
our members should join the strike 30 November to oppose the
government’s attempted raid
8 Timeline to action on our pensions.
How a growing campaign against the cuts has The last time there was
led to the largest action for a generation anything like this show of
strength by public sector unions
10 PCS news roundup, including: was in 2005 when the then
Labour government threatened
zz30 November – what’s happening near you
to cut our pensions. Nine unions
zzMore than 200 jobs saved at Hewlett Packard then held co-ordinated ballots,
Photo: Jess Hurd
zzMoD private spending criticised and the government realised that
zzRevenue and Customs call centre campaign negotiation rather than conflict
stepped up was the way to proceed.
That threat of co-ordinated
13 Raising our voices for the alternative strike action led to the pensions
Find out what happened when we took deal in 2007. That deal has been
independently audited and found
our ‘there is an alternative’ message to the by the National Audit Office to
political party conferences this autumn
Our pensions have reduced costs by 14%, saving
£67 billion over the next 50 years.
14 United voices are affordable, The coalition government
Teachers, civil servants, nurses – public sector commissioned the Hutton report
workers explain why they are angry about sustainable to look at public sector pensions,
the government’s attacks on pensions and the and found the cost is projected to
fall into the foreseeable future.
18 Birmingham against the cuts
government’s Backed up by masses of evidence,
we have said from the start that
England’s second city is facing up to the proposals our pensions are affordable,
battle against cuts – and PCS members
are leading the way
are unfair sustainable and that the
government’s proposals are unfair.
The government is ignoring
22 No mutual benefit even its own evidence. David
From prisons to pension administration our Cameron told Conservative party
conference in October that our
public services are under attack from privatisation
pensions are “unaffordable”. That
is simply not true. This outrageous attempt to rob our pensions is what has
provoked so many into strike action on 30 November.
The government makes all kinds of spurious arguments about how our
pensions are unfair – because private sector workers have had their
pensions robbed by their employers. But the injustice is not caused by us,
Illustration: Cathrine Finnema/Eastwing
but by those companies who have slashed pensions to give directors bigger
bonuses and shareholders ever increasing dividends.
We will not accept an equality of misery. That’s why working with
Unite, the UK’s largest private sector union, and the National Pensioners’
Pages 16–17 Convention, we have published a new pamphlet ‘Fair pensions for all’
Campaigning across the to bust the pension myths, and argue for better provision for all.
country: millions unite On 30 November we are making a stand against this government to say
against the cuts we will not accept cuts to our living standards now, through higher
contributions, and in retirement through a smaller pension.
Regulars Encourage your work colleagues to join the union, and on the day join
26 Letters and tweets the picket lines outside your workplace, and rallies that are being
30 Competitions organised around the country.
Standing alongside our colleagues in local government, health,
Win a £50 Halfords voucher education and the rest of the civil service, we can force the government
See page 28 to rethink its proposals.
November/December 2011 | View 3
Sharon Breen Editor
£1.80 where sold
On 30 November PCS members will be taking to the
streets to proudly proclaim ‘Hands off our pensions’ as
we step up our campaign against cuts to pensions, pay
Public and Commercial Services Union
and jobs with a national strike.
160 Falcon Road London SW11 2LN
Up to three million public sector workers are expected
Switchboard: 020 7924 2727
to take part in the action – from teachers to nurses,
Communications Department: 020 7801 2820
librarians to social workers. It will involve more than
20 unions and is the biggest expression yet of people’s
unhappiness with the coalition government’s draconian
Editor: Sharon Breen attacks on hardworking people.
Design: PCS communications The strike follows months of fruitless talks with
Printed by: Warners Midlands PLC ministers to try to reach a negotiated agreement that
Advertising: Redactive protects people’s retirement income.
30 November Our message is clear: it is time to listen and stop
Editorial board making ordinary people pay to solve economic
NEC appointed members
is the biggest
problems they did not create.
John McInally (Chair), Michael Derbyshire, expression yet Unsurprisingly, much of this issue of View
Kevin McHugh of people’s focuses on 30 November – or ‘n30’ as it is becoming
Conference elected members unhappiness with popularly known.
On pages 10–11 PCS general secretary Mark
Julie Bremner, Sharon Edwards, government cuts Serwotka explains why it is so important for members
Robbie Faulds, Elenor Haven
to support the strike. On pages 14–15 a range of public
Editorial board members can be sector workers share their reasons for supporting
contacted via headquarters the action. And on our centre pages we look at campaigns around the country that
are uniting millions of workers. We also have a special feature on the cuts in
Membership details Birmingham, starting on page 18.
If you change your address or move job please let The 30 November strike is the widest, most co-ordinated industrial action we have seen
our membership records department know on: in our lifetimes. The united voice of public sector workers will speak loud and clear. We
020 7801 2670 will not accept the government’s attempt to rob the pension entitlements we have earned.
Publication of advertisements does not Protect your pension, support the action.
imply any form of recommendation
Focusing on members of the Public and Commercial Services Union • Nov/Dec 2011
Hands off our pensions
All out Hands
Enclosed with this issue of View you
will find a postcard to fill in and send
to the prime minister expressing your
30 Nov concern about the government’s attacks
on our pensions.
The postcard is part of our ‘There is
an alternative’ campaign and just one of
Hands off our pensions
Public and Commercial Services Union | pcs.org.uk
many ways you can get involved in the
growing public sector movement to
protect our futures.
The government’s plans mean most
Photos: Jess Hurd, Andy Forman people will have to work until the age of
68 and could mean future pensions will
pay out up 20% less than the current civil
service final salary scheme.
recycle If you haven’t already done so, visit our
updated pensions calculator at pcs.org.uk/ public and Com
es Union | pcs
Please recycle this magazine when you pension to see what the changes will
have finished reading it or pass it on to mean to you, complete the postcard
a colleague to read. and send it off today. Volunteering to get involved in PCS
Attending rallies and meetings in
You can also support the campaign by: support of the campaign
zzSupporting the strike on 30 November Reading the economic alternative to
zzEncouraging your colleagues to join the the cuts at pcs.org.uk/alternative
union, if they aren’t already members
Share your views by emailing Signing the ‘Fair pensions for all’ petition
zz Learn more at
firstname.lastname@example.org pcs.org.uk/fairpensions pcs.org.uk/n30
4 View | November/December 2011
Read the latest from around the union Janice Godrich President
The industrial action on
30 November looks set to
be a huge demonstration
of people’s determination
to say ‘no’ to the
The members of up
to 20 unions, about
three million people,
will be taking strike
action, marching and
attending other events
around the UK.
When that many
Huge people are actively
numbers of policy, with their families
people are and friends also in
support, 30 November
saying they becomes more than
simply a day of industrial
will resist action. It’s a mass
30 the pensions robbery
movement – a statement
by huge numbers of
price of an people that they will
resist paying the price
economic of an economic
recession caused by
the greedy minority.
I want to send a
PCS members will be at the forefront
of one of the largest strikes in UK history
PCS negotiators have worked hard
to try to reach agreements that avoid
the greedy personal message to PCS
members to ask you to
alongside up to three million public industrial action. But despite these minority join with your colleagues
sector workers fighting for their efforts the government continues to in other unions and take
hard-earned pensions. refuse to hold meaningful negotiations part in the action. It’s also
Strike action taken on 30 June by on its plans. important that you talk to
750,000 workers – one of the most Our national executive agreed to any of your colleagues
successful strike days in our union’s co-ordinate strike action with other who are not in the union and urge them to join PCS.
history – put the cuts to public sector unions ahead of the Trades Union As well as striking, members can join marches,
pensions at the top of the national Congress in September, out of which rallies and other campaigning events. The more we are
agenda, and the campaign has grown to came a unity of action against the cuts out on the streets and in the media, the more pressure
such a level now that about 20 trade persuading several of the largest unions we will exert on the government.
unions are planning to take part or ballot to agree to ballot their members. And make no mistake, this is a dispute that we
members for strike action on 30 can win. We are winning the arguments over the
November. Millions of workers are Striking successes affordability of our pensions. And the glaring injustice
outraged that the government intends to Following media scrutiny around the of being forced by the millionaires in Cameron’s
make them pay more and work longer 30 June strike, ministers have had to cabinet to pay more, work longer and receive less
for less in retirement to pay off a budget ditch their misleading claims that public pension, at a time of great uncertainty over jobs and
deficit they did not cause. To compound sector pensions are unaffordable, and living standards, is eating away at the government’s
the situation public sector workers are they now cite the ‘unfairness’ of the support. Let’s not forget, this is a coalition government
also facing a pay freeze, while inflation divide between public and private sector with no mandate for the cuts it is imposing.
stands at above 5%. pensions. We argue this is also false. I am convinced that with such massive support for
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: PCS is demanding: action the government will be forced sooner or later
“It is vital we show the government it zz detrimental changes to pensions or
No to negotiate properly with the unions and come to an
can’t tear up our futures. We want every the civil service compensation scheme agreement. Pensions are not a gold-plated luxury, but
PCS member to support 30 November zz compulsory redundancies
No a necessity, which we have worked hard for over years
and get families and friends involved as zz end to the pay freeze and a fair pay
An of public service.
well. Join picket lines, attend local events rise for all PCS members. On 30 November a massive, popular demonstration
and ensure all your colleagues are in the Support the action on 30 November. of opposition to the cuts will have a clear message:
Photo: Jess Hurd
union. Going out on strike is a last resort that those who enjoy the fruits of speculation on the
but, when all else fails, it can often be a Keep up-to-date with the financial markets should be the ones to pay for the
trigger for success.” campaign at pcs.org.uk/n30 mess they have created.
November/December 2011 | View 5
Strength in numbers
Estimate of the number of public
sector trade union members
who could take action on 30 Nov
in selected local authority areas
5,461 10,416 3,716
Angus Barnsley Barrow-in-Furness
based on official figures
Join me in the figh
PCS’s general secretary
talks about the futility of
cuts, the government’s
attacks on pensions –
and why every member
counts on the day of
action, 30 November
Why are PCS members being asked
to go on strike on 30 November?
The government is seeking to make public
sector workers pay an extraordinarily
high price to solve economic problems
they did not create.
That means robbing our pensions –
an unprecedented assault forcing people to
work longer and pay more to get less.
All our attempts to negotiate have failed
because the government isn’t interested in
having a negotiated pension scheme, it
just wants to raise money for the Treasury
to help pay off the deficit.
Our strike on 30 November, alongside
almost every other public sector union
representing three million workers, is a
necessary but last resort to put as much
pressure on the government as we can. we are challenging that. While 30 November will naturally be
While it’s true private sector pensions focused on pensions, because that is what
How are we campaigning to put have been eroded over the years, this is not the other unions are fighting on, we are
the record straight on public the fault of public servants and the answer campaigning against all of these measures,
sector pensions? isn’t to equalise the misery. and our strike mandate allows us to
We are seeking to expose the fact that the This is why we and the other unions have defend every job.
government’s arguments are false, and launched our ‘fair pensions for all’ campaign
we’ve already been successful. and we will be publishing a pamphlet this PCS’s policy is to argue against all
Mostly, ministers have moved from month, laying out all the facts. cuts. Is that feasible?
claiming public sector pensions are It’s not only feasible, it's economically
‘unaffordable’ to them being ‘untenable’, Isn’t our strike also about pay and jobs? necessary. There are two reasons why we
and now they simply say they’re ‘unfair’. Yes, the campaign for us is about the say ‘no cuts’.
Everything they have claimed, we have government's austerity measures which are Firstly, cuts are making the economic
shown is demonstrably not true. seeking to penalise people across the UK situation worse. We need to boost the
Tens of thousands of people have used in a variety of ways, by closing or privatising economy and create demand. If you cut
the pensions calculator on our website services, and cutting jobs and pay. people’s jobs and pay they have less money
Photos: Andrew Aitchison
and the results are startling. It shows that What we face as a union illustrates that to spend.
whether you’re 18 or in your 50s, you broader picture. There’s a pay freeze when This is completely the opposite course
will be affected. inflation is more than 5%; the latest figures we’ve taken in previous generations when
As part of the government's attempt to show the civil service lost 6,000 jobs a month debt was twice as high. After the war, we built
undermine us, it is putting a false divide over the last quarter; and many people face the NHS, the welfare state, comprehensive
between the public and private sectors, but the prospect of being privatised. education and council homes. We invested
6 View | November/December 2011
10,247 44,352 70, 50 8,839
Bath and North Belfast Birmingham Blackburn with
East Somerset Darwen
ght for our future
“You can never
promise you’ll win,
but fighting gives
us a chance”
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary
have been ripped off over their pensions,
and that ripping off public servants too
isn’t the answer.
People will see our strike as part of a
wider resistance to austerity and cuts.
Generally, I think fighting injustice is
something people will support.
What would you say to members
who aren’t sure about striking or say
they can’t afford to take action?
Striking is never easy, particularly when
pay is so low. But I’d say you can’t afford not
to, because if we lose, people who are already
struggling will find it immeasurably worse.
The increase in pension contributions
alone for some will be the equivalent of a
day’s pay every month for the rest of their
What does the future look like to you?
and we improved our society. Our strike on 30 June was a game-changer, There are two very different futures possible.
But also, if we don’t oppose every cut we it put us centre stage in the media and First, we do nothing and the government
are divided from the outset, forced to choose exposed the government’s lies about does what it wishes, more than one million
between teachers and classroom assistants, affordability. Unite general secretary Len jobs go, vital services are lost and we
nurses and nursery workers, students and McCluskey has said the four unions involved become the first generation for many years
pensioners, public and private sector. “led the way”, and now other unions are to tell our children they will be worse off
co-ordinating alongside us. than their parents.
Do strikes make a difference? You can never promise you’ll win, but The second is we fight, we force a rethink,
Absolutely. My father told me something fighting gives us a chance. we invest and create jobs and improve our
when I was young that has stuck with me. society, the economy grows and we all benefit.
When you fight you’re never guaranteed to How much support will we get from We have to force this government to
win, but if you don’t fight you lose every time. the public on 30 November? change direction, because if they get away
If we don't do anything, pensions will be I have no doubt we will get massive support. with it we will be left with a much more
robbed, jobs cut and living standards driven It's increasingly becoming clear what’s at brutal and unequal society.
down. But if we fight back we have every stake, people are seeing their services cut, There is an alternative, but it won’t be
chance of being successful. friends and family losing their jobs and achieved by wishing for it. We have to fight
As an example, in the mid-1980s when I damage to the economy. for it – and on 30 November we’ll be among
worked in the benefits service, an office in We got huge support on 30 June. The three million other public sector workers
our branch was on strike for many months opinion polls moved rapidly when the strike fighting for it too.
over the introduction of casual labour. It happened and, despite the media onslaught,
was tough, but everyone was given a opinion was in our favour. For further information and the
permanent job. Many private sector workers know they latest news visit pcs.org.uk/n30
November/December 2011 | View 7
3,097 3,547 12,386 18,748
Blaenau Gwent Bracknell Forest Brighton and Hove Camden
20 October 2010
Cuts in numbers
government’s plans to cut civil
service redundancy pay as being
Chancellor in breach of human rights
George Osborne legislation, after evidence
announces submitted by PCS.
£83 billion of
public spending 8 December Auditors
cuts over four confirm affordability
Unity key to defeating cuts years in the comprehensive
spending review, including
Analysis by the National Audit
Office says changes to public
490,000 public sector job cuts sector pensions agreed in 2007
Protecting pensions, defending across the union movement. and a further £1.8 billion cut in made schemes affordable and
workers’ rights and opposing the ‘Together we can win’ was the public sector pensions to help sustainable. The findings follow
cutting and sell-off of public rallying call as delegates agreed “fill the hole in public finances”. Lord Hutton’s interim report,
services were among the major to support and co-ordinate published in October, which said
issues PCS delegates debated campaigning and joint action 19 November costs are expected to fall from
during the course of the annual against attacks on pensions, jobs, Government refuses talks 1.9% of national income in
Trades Union Congress (TUC) pay and public services. The government 2010/11 to 1.4% by 2060.
in London. Ballots for strike action were refuses
From a PCS-backed fringe announced by the country’s negotiations over 14 January 2011
meeting on the eve of congress to largest unions on the final a PCS plan to Vote against cuts
the special public sector unions morning of congress, which better protect the Of more than 80,000 people
meeting at its conclusion there voted unanimously to back lowest paid who voting in a consultative ballot,
was a theme of united opposition co-ordinated industrial action lose their jobs. Cabinet Office 90% agree with PCS’s
to the government’s cuts and over pensions. minister Francis Maude had recommendation that the new
Photos: Jess Hurd and Andrew Aitchison
determination to defeat them The strike on 30 November previously told parliament he civil service compensation
running through the event. will build on the success of would “strain every sinew” to scheme should be rejected.
Congress represents more 30 June when PCS joined agree a new civil service Ninety-six per cent also back our
than six million trade union teachers in a walkout over compensation scheme. national campaign.
members. The annual event pensions, jobs and pay.
decides the direction of the TUC’s 30 November 28 January
campaigning over the coming For more congress Human rights support Unions come together
year and is an opportunity for reports see Parliament’s human rights joint Public sector unions hold their
demonstrations of solidarity pcs.org.uk/tuc committee criticises the first meeting to discuss a more
Why I’m supporting 30 November
PCS members explain their reasons for backing the day of action
“We all have “This is an “I’m supporting “These cuts
a lot to lose – attack on the 30 November affect everyone
everything working class because as the trying to make
we’ve worked and all it has bankers and an honest living.
for and the fought for in the ruling class play, This is the only
destruction last century. Fair we pay.” way left to
of public services.” pay, a secure job and a decent Martin Hickman, Department show how much hurt and pain
Tracy Walker, Milton Keynes pension are just rewards for all for Work and Pensions the cuts will cause. We must
benefit centre hard working public servants.” stay united.”
Dave Hansford, Revenue Saifal Zaveri, Revenue and
and Customs Customs
8 View | November/December 2011
26, 80 7,938
Castle Morpeth Chester
e to action what it would be if we didn’t only
march together, we took strike
10 August Fight goes on
A High Court judge agrees that
action together.” existing rights to redundancy pay
should not be taken away
18 May without consent, but rules he
Conference calls ballot cannot interfere in the
Following an overwhelming vote government’s economic policies.
at our annual conference, we We pledge to continue the fight.
announce more than a quarter
of a million civil and public 14 September
servants will be balloted for a An historic moment
strike over cuts to pensions, On the last day of TUC congress,
jobs and pay. more unions – including the
three largest Unison, Unite and
17 June Talks are a farce GMB – announce ballots for
co-ordinated approach to The government announces it He praises members for industrial action over pensions.
campaigning against the cuts. will not change its mind on supporting strike action. At the close of the conference,
cutting public sector pensions. unions meet and agree to
31 January PCS general secretary Mark 30 June Strike day success call a co-ordinated strike day
Tax dodger Osborne Serwotka responds by Along with teachers and lecturers of up to three million public
George Osborne is named the describing the talks as “farcical”. from ATL, NUT and UCU, we servants on 30 November.
UK’s worst tax shirker in our hold the best supported strike Mark Serwotka describes it as
online poll run with False in our union’s history. Media “an historic moment”.
Economy and Tax Justice scrutiny exposes ministers’
Network. He is presented with a misleading claims over
giant ‘jammie dodger’ as a prize. affordability.
26 March 19 July In the courts
March for the Alternative PCS and the Prison Officers’
At least half a million people take Association’s High Court judicial
to the streets of London for the review of cuts to the civil service
TUC’s March for the Alternative. compensation scheme begins.
In his speech from Hyde Park, The challenge is on human
Mark Serwotka says: “Imagine rights grounds.
“It’s about “Everything we’ve ever “The wealthy “I am a PCS rep
Photo: Paula Solloway
protecting the worked for is under threat. ensure they who supports
pensions we rely I want my children to have a protect their and defends
on, the jobs we decent future, and I want to investments, hard-earned
depend on and help protect my community well I am rights and
the pay that from these cuts.” striking to better
supports us. I’d say to people, Jeff McGough, Identity and protect the public services conditions for members.”
now is the time to join in Passport Service my grandparents, parents Paul Welsh, Home Office
and get involved.” and I have invested in and
Sue Ghani, Land Registry fought for.”
Lynne Arnison, Jobcentre Plus
November/December 2011 | View 9
8,389 4,391 3,200 7,657
Chesterfield Chorley Christchurch Denbighshire
The slogan ‘Stop the great pensions robbery’ hanging on the side of
PCS headquarters can be seen by millions of commuters using nearby
Clapham Junction, the UK’s busiest railway station. The 30 November-themed
banners were unveiled in October.
N30 rallies events, including marches and a event while in Plymouth there is march and rally in Huddersfield
Trade unionists prepare mass rally in Oxford. Events are likely to be a rally, plus day of and an event in Halifax.
to take to the streets also being planned in Swindon events. In Taunton there is the In the north west from
across the UK while groups in other towns and possibility of a march and rally lunchtime onwards there is a call
Across the UK plans are being cities are considering options. while in Truro a group of unions from the unions involved for
finalised for demonstrations, A march, rally and candle-lit is looking at organising events in “make a noise at one”, which
marches, rallies and events vigil are being planned by the centre of the city. could include a minute’s applause
including candle-lit vigils in Bristol trades council. A Events are being planned in or cheering at 1pm.
support of the joint national midnight candle-lit vigil is being Newcastle, where the regional Rallies are likely to take place
action on 30 November. organised in Gloucester with TUC is co-ordinating a mass at the following places:
Following morning picketing it a rally and march likely to take march and rally, with activities Blackburn; Blackpool; Bolton;
is expected that events will take place in Bath. also likely to take place in Chester; Crewe; Liverpool;
place in many towns and cities. The South West TUC is Middlesbrough and Carlisle. Manchester; Oldham; Preston;
Photo: Andrew Aitchison
In London a large-scale rally co-ordinating events with certain There are a number of rallies Warrington and Wigan.
and march is being finalised, with unions taking lead responsibility expected to take place in In Scotland it is likely that
details yet to be confirmed. in some locations. The Exeter Yorkshire and Humber, in there will be a combination
Across the south east plans joint unions group is planning a Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield of marches and rallies in
are being formulated for morning rally, march and possible evening and Hull. There is likely to be a Edinburgh, Glasgow,
10 View | November/December 2011
15,370 2,027 7
,375 Derwentside East Ayrshire
Inverness, Aberdeen and Sheffield voted almost
Dundee and potentially marches unanimously for industrial
in specific towns organised by action and had been refusing
trades councils. to co-operate with the transfer
In Wales there will be a of their work to Bangalore.
lunchtime march and rally in The union maintained that,
Cardiff, organised by Wales as well as the threat to jobs, the
TUC, ending at the SWALEC proposals risked the security of
stadium. There will also be events very sensitive and valuable
in Wrexham, Merthyr Tydfil, information about benefits.
probably in Swansea and Learn more at pcs.org.uk/cs
possibly in Aberystwyth.
The Northern Ireland
Committee of the Irish Congress Pay success
of Trade Unions is co-ordinating Strike threat nets
marches and rallies in Belfast 15% rise
and Derry. A threat of strike action was
For the latest news see the enough to win a group of private
30 November page on the PCS sector staff on government IT
website – pcs.org.uk/n30 – or contracts rises of up to 15%.
contact your regional office The union’s 720 members in
Fujitsu working on contracts
across the UK for DVLA,
Credit union HM Revenue and Customs,
Safer saving with PCS Home Office, Ministry of
PCS is a step closer to setting Defence and Office of National
up a credit union for members Statistics, had been planning
and their families. a co-ordinated strike with
The Financial Services colleagues from the Unite union.
Authority has given legal Workers who were paid just
authorisation, confirming that £13,500 two years ago now have a
we have a solid foundation on minimum rate of £15,000. The
which to build a safer alternative lowest paid will receive a basic
for members’ money. 11% increase.
The credit union is due to be Find out more at
launched early in 2012.
Our project team will shortly
High Court challenge
be writing to members who have
applied to join to confirm the Privatisation to pensions switch
launch date and when the first Call centre action
direct debit will be taken. stepped up There was a lively demonstration announced by chancellor
To join or volunteer see PCS members in Revenue and at the start of a legal challenge George Osborne in the June
pcs.org.uk/creditunion Customs have been asked if they on behalf of millions of public 2010 budget, without any
would support taking industrial sector workers over what consultation or negotiation.
action to stop the privatisation inflation index is used to The switch has also been
Offshoring success of call centres. increase their pensions. applied to many private sector
Strong campaign stops Senior managers say they plan Dozens of members of the pensions, wiping an estimated
HP jobs export to run a 12-month private sector six unions involved, including £75 billion off their value. The
More than 200 UK jobs have trial to help the department cope PCS, were outside the Royal unions’ case is that the imposed
been saved after a campaign by with high workloads. In Courts of Justice in London at move was not permitted under
PCS members forced government negotiations PCS has called for the start of the three-day social security legislation, and
contractor Hewlett Packard alternatives to be explored. judicial review hearing at the that it reneges on assurances
to abandon plans to shift work For example, some of the 8,500 High Court on 25 October. given by successive governments
to India. staff threatened with job cuts by The unions challenged the that RPI would apply.
The company wanted to 2015 could be used to help take switch to using the consumer The six unions are the Fire
transfer the tasks, which involved calls during peak periods. price index instead of the Brigades Union, teachers’ union
Photo: Stefano Cagnoni
upkeeping the records of millions PCS is seeking members’ views traditionally higher retail NASUWT, Prison Officers
of people for the Department on the next step in the campaign. price index for the annual Association, PCS, Unison
for Work and Pensions. PCS Write to your MP about cuts increase in public sector and Unite.
members working at HP sites at Revenue and Customs pensions. The move – effective As we went to press, a decision
in Newcastle, Lytham and http://is.gd/5t1FKW from April this year – was is expected by mid-November.
November/December 2011 | View 11
38,847 13,962 57,429 7,319
Edinburgh Exeter Glasgow Guildford
PCS has criticised the Ministry
of Defence for massively
increasing spending on private
contracts while more than
50,000 jobs are being cut.
MoD external spending rose
from £382 million in June 2010
to £546 million in June 2011 –
a 43% increase. In the same
period, the government
announced 32,000 civilian and
24,000 military job cuts.
PCS has asked ministers
for full disclosure and details
of the external expenditure,
but this information has not
Write to your MP about
privatisation of Defence
Royal cleaners win
Big pay rise for
PCS members were prominent on the streets of Glasgow as workers
The queen’s cleaners have
thousands of anti-cuts protestors marched through the city. won a 16% pay rise after a
The low-paid workers, who
Charities Welsh miners keep Buckingham Palace spic and
Cuts mean more fraud
Good causes could lose billions
of pounds to crime if planned
cuts to the charity regulator are
Union donates to miners’
PCS has given £5,000 to the
appeal fund set up after four
the amount per day a
span every day, saw their pay rise
from £6.45 to £7.50 an hour from
1 November. KGB Cleaning –
which employs the workers – has
implemented, PCS has warned. Welsh miners were killed when private consultant in the promised there will be no cuts to
Charities are cheated out of their pit flooded in September. MoD is being paid to jobs or hours to pay for the rise.
an estimated £1.3 billion a The union’s national executive find savings The union campaign included a
year, according to the latest agreed to make the donation to demonstration during Prince
figures from the National Fraud the fund which was set up by William and Kate Middleton’s
Authority. But government local MP Peter Hain with the royal wedding celebrations. The
spending cuts mean the Charity National Union of Mineworkers. signed the petition in October rise will be paid to cleaners
Commission has already had to Make a donation at against the planned closure working in Buckingham Palace
scrap most of its one-to-one minersappealfund.org of coastguard stations and and Buckingham Palace Mews.
work with organisations, and urged his Twitter followers to One cleaner told View: “We
may have to scale down its vital do the same. In August this would like to say ‘thank you’ to all
work advising charities and Coastguards year he needed help from who supported our campaign, by
investigating wrongdoing. Spall stands up for rescue services off the coast of signing our petition – we got over
If the plans are implemented lifesavers Sheerness, Kent. 2,000 signatures – and
there will be just 280 staff to The PCS campaign against PCS has been campaigning demonstrating with us outside the
regulate more than 300,000 coastguard station closure against the proposals which palace. We would especially like
Photo: Murdoch Ferguson
UK charities. This comes as received a celebrity endorsement would cost hundreds of jobs to thank our rep Lizzie Woods,
the government wants the from award-winning actor and cut the local knowledge and MP John McDonnell. This is
voluntary sector to run more Timothy Spall. available for sea rescues. proof that being a member of a
public services. The actor well known for Sign the petition campaigning union gets results.”
Learn more at pcs.org.uk/ his roles in the Harry Potter petitiononline.com/SHMCGS/ For more see:
charitycommission films and The King’s Speech petition.html pcs.org.uk/culture
12 View | November/December 2011
8,276 4,729 4,617
Haringey Hartlepool Hastings
There is an alternative
PCS has been lobbying political party conferences with the message that
there is an alternative to the government’s recipe of cuts and misery
Green Party delegates – gathering
in Sheffield – were overwhelm-
ingly supportive and keen to take
information from the union’s stall
about campaigns to save pensions
and improve the welfare state.
PCS assistant general secretary
Chris Baugh spoke at a meeting
on JustPay! campaign, while vice
president John McInally took part
in a debate on welfare inequality.
The road show moved to
Birmingham where the Liberal
Democrats were met by a
against the government’s policies.
PCS general secretary Mark
Serwotka spoke at the rally after
the demo and to a fringe meeting
organised by the union.
He criticised Liberal Democrat
cabinet minister Danny
Alexander for claiming the PCS members march in Birmingham against government cuts ahead of the Lib Dem annual conference
coalition was creating 2,000 jobs
in Revenue and Customs to tackle decision to upgrade pensions In Inverness PCS members
tax avoidance and evasion.
Mark said that this had come
with the Consumer Price Index
inflation measure, rather than the % were out in force at the
conference of the Scottish
just a week after the same Retail Price Index which is National Party – who run the
department had announced office usually higher. Holyrood government.
closures that would threaten the PCS is not affiliated to Labour Labour party conference There was a lobby against the
same number of jobs. More than but many of our sister unions delegates supporting SNP decision to extend a pay
10,000 jobs are scheduled to go in are, like Unite and Unison who investment in public freeze for Scottish public sector
Revenue and Customs by 2015. are also planning strikes over services rather than cuts workers by a further year – and
The fringe meeting was told pensions on 30 November. So a public meeting promoting a
that PCS members who are there was a ready audience for ‘Scottish alternative’.
suffering a pay freeze, job cuts PCS ideas. Mark Serwotka PCS national executive
and an attack on their pensions, addressed a packed fringe Benn, Peter Hain and Tessa Jowell member Cheryl Gedling spoke at
are angry at the Lib Dem meeting with people spilling posed for photos at the PCS stall the SNP Trade Union Group
leadership for giving cover to the out of the door. with placards calling for more fringe meeting.
Conservatives’ ideological cuts. Called ‘The cuts don’t work’ investment. In Wales PCS worked with
Mark urged Lib Dem members the event promoted the economic The Conservatives – who lead Plaid Cymru during the summer
to support public sector workers arguments in the PCS booklet the government coalition – met to campaign successfully against
taking action on 30 November to ‘There is an alternative’ which in Manchester. Mark Serwotka the closure of some government
protect their pensions. has been read by hundreds of spoke at an opening-day offices in rural areas.
thousands of people. demonstration against their Plaid Cymru AM Leanne
Raising our voices – Mark argued that cuts to public attacks on the welfare state and Wood is chair of the PCS
and our concerns spending would cause long-term working people. parliamentary group in the
At the Labour conference in harm to the economy. PCS campaign officer Josh Welsh Assembly.
Liverpool PCS ran a daily poll on In a poll on the PCS stall 98% Fenton-Glynn spent the week
Photo: Simon Hadley
an issue close to the union’s heart. of participants called for attending fringe meetings and See who posed for
For example delegates and investments in services rather raising the union’s policies against photos calling for more
others who visited the union’s than cuts. the cuts and in favour of investment in public services
stall voted 99.7% against the Leading politicians like Hilary investment in public services. at http://is.gd/sYN7IE
November/December 2011 | View 13
Hinckley and Ipswich
Kettering King’s Lynn and
Bosworth West Norfolk
We’re backing the
Teachers, civil servants,
nurses – public sector
workers are angry about
the government’s attack
on their pensions. Here
they voice their concerns
in the run-up to the day
of action, 30 November.
Public sector workers
are saying loud and clear
that they will not accept
attempt to rob the
pensions entitlements Jennie Williams, Teacher, attack from several angles.
they have earned. They Rhondda Valley, Wales “It’s going to affect us for the rest of our
Jennie Williams’ husband Mike is also a lives,” she says. “In all sorts of ways we’re
all know that if the teacher and they recently welcomed their being asked to pay more and more and
government’s proposals first baby to the world. Now they face each getting less from the government in return.
having to pay £80 a month more in “Everyone feels very strongly about it. I
are allowed to take pension contributions. think it’s incredibly important that people
With the prospect of continuing pay support the day of action to keep pushing
effect, millions of working freezes, university fees and cuts in services, and show the support is there for resisting
people face having to they feel their standard of living is under these attacks.”
pay more, work longer “In all sorts of ways we’re being asked
and receive far less in to pay more and more and getting less
retirement. We spoke to from the government in return”
a range of people who
voiced their heartfelt James Anthony, Nurse, Birmingham
James Anthony is a staff nurse in the
he says. “But me and my colleagues feel
we’re being blackmailed.
concerns. cardiology unit at the Queen Elizabeth “Part of the promise when I went into
Hospital in Birmingham. He has been there nursing was that I would be looked after in
six years since leaving university and loves my old age. Now we’re being forced to fight
his work. But he is angry that the pension to protect our pensions.
Photo: Phil Rees
that came as part of a career in nursing is “It’s really important that we coordinate
now under attack. with other unions as much as possible. That
“My priority is to take care of the patients,” way we can all give each other confidence.”
14 View | November/December 2011
7,448 8,872 46, 66 35,581
Kingston-upon- Knowsley Leeds Liverpool
Holly Smith, Administrator, Brighton Lisa Hoy, Department of
Holly Smith, a GMB shop steward who works Justice, Belfast
in the parks department at Brighton and Young people don’t usually pay much
Hove Council, believes workers need to stand attention to their pension provision, says Lisa
united against the government’s cuts and Hoy. But the proposals now being foisted on
attacks on pensions. public service workers have forced many
She said: “I work in local government and younger workers to sit up and take notice.
we have already had a pay freeze for the last Lisa, 26, reckons she will have to pay an
two years. The proposed changes would mean extra £50 a month if the proposals take effect.
that my pension contributions would be an If she works until the age of 68 as proposed
extra £60 a month, at a time when the cost of she will probably lose a total of £63,000 over
living is going up and up. her retirement. If she stops work at age 60,
“I currently can’t afford to be in my pension she stands to lose about £88,000.
scheme; I was hoping to join it when I was “It’s just not right,” she says. “People my
financially better off, but the proposals mean age don’t tend to think about their pensions
that I can’t ever see that happening, and that because it seems so far off. But this has
makes me worry about my old age. The made a lot of us very angry.
money used by our extra contributions is “You have to do something to stand up
going straight to the Treasury, so effectively for yourself. I just can’t afford to lose that
this increase is simply an additional tax on amount of money. I’m single but I know a
public sector workers to pay for a crisis that lot of people whose partners have lost their
wasn’t our fault. jobs and this would have an even bigger
“This is an attack on the right to a decent impact on them.”
standard of living in old age. Younger workers
may not think this affects them, but if we
don’t fight this it gives them the mandate to
attack all the rest of our terms and conditions
and pay. We need to stand united with other
workers to say that we refuse to accept any of
the government’s austerity measures which
target the poor and worse off in our society.”
“This is an attack
on the right to a
decent standard of
living in old age”
Ciarán McGeough, Civil
Photo: Mark Campbell
Civil servant Ciarán McGeough sees the
attack on pensions as a government raid
to bail out the bankers – and he warns it
won’t be the last.
“It’s a windfall tax on the public sector
to try and pay for the deficit,” he says. “We
need to show we’re not prepared to accept Liz Cameron, Integrated support the day of action on 30 November.
this attack on our terms and conditions. youth service, Salford “It’s disgraceful,” she says. “There’s no
“If ordinary working people don’t stand As a lone parent Liz Cameron will be business case for what they are trying to do.
up and say no they’re going to come back among those hardest hit by the government’s The pension scheme pays for itself. The
time and time again and take more. pension proposals. government wants to recover the losses it
“The day of action is a stepping stone. If the plans go through she reckons she suffered because of the greedy bankers and
We need to show what an important role will have to pay about £100 a month extra they’re trying to make us pay for it.
we play and how angry we are about what’s and work several years longer before retiring. “I will be strongly supporting the day of
being proposed. Liz says everyone in the public sector should action. I feel I’ve got no choice.”
“The 30 November strike is very
important. It’s crucial that people send a
strong message that we won’t accept this
“I will be strongly supporting the day
crusade against us.” of action. I feel I’ve got no choice”
November/December 2011 | View 15
Belfast Crewe Gamston,
(and the rest of Northern Ireland) (and every other railway town) Nottinghamshire
Libraries under attack Save our railways Our NHS our future
Northern Ireland Public Aslef, Rail Maritime and Unison
Service Alliance Transport (RMT) union, and The biggest health union is
NIPSA – the biggest public the Transport Salaried Staffs opposing a ward closure and
sector union in Northern Ireland Association (TSSA) 18 job cuts at the Lings Bar
– has joined with community A joint union campaign hospital, Nottinghamshire.
groups to oppose changes to against the McNulty report Action: Support the Unison NHS
library opening hours as part of which forms the basis of the campaign: unison.org.uk/ournhs
£10 million of cuts. government’s train policy. It
Action: Take part in the public will lead to job Glasgow
consultation launched by the cuts and worse services. Stow college pay up
assembly government: librariesni. Action: Visit the RMT campaign Unison
org.uk/public-consultations page: http://is.gd/IWj0Di Workers at Stow College are
taking industrial action over a
Blackpool Derby pay freeze. Unison represents
Pay up for bakers Save Bombardier cleaners, caretakers, learning
Bakers, Food and Allied Unite, GMB, RMT, TSSA support, admin, and catering
Workers’ Union 1,400 jobs are at risk at the workers. Some earning just above
Success: Workers at a Burton’s Bombardier train manufacturer the minimum wage.
Foods plant rejected a 1.5% pay after a big Thameslink contract Action: See http://is.gd/sfstBp
offer and voted to strike. Talks was awarded to a German
upped the deal to 3% this year competitor. Inverness
and 3% in 2012. Action: Lobby your MP and (and other coastal areas)
Action: Know someone who ask them to sign early day Sea sense
works in food? Urge them to join motion 2059 Nautilus
BFAWU: http://www.bfawu.org The seafarers’ union is
Epsom campaigning to stop government
Bristol Health emergency cuts hitting employment and
(and other sites) Trade union-backed campaign safety at sea.
TV licensing outrage against the possible privatisation Action: Write to your MP:
Communication Workers Union of Epsom General Hospital – http://is.gd/6QmCRf
TV licensing workers have voted which houses the largest hip
by three-to-one in favour of strike and knee replacement centre London
action over a pay offer well below in the UK. Reclain the media
the rate of inflation. Action: Contact Epsom MP and NUJ, Broadcasting, Entertainment,
Action: Listen to CWU rep Brian Tory minister Chris Grayling who Cinematograph and Theatre
Taylor talking about the campaign ran a campaign to save the Union (BECTU)
on Radio Lancashire at bbc.co.uk/ hospital when in opposition: A campaign to take back
programmes/p00k6fqq http://www.chrisgrayling.net/ control of the media from
contact.htm corporate interests – launched in
Chesterfield the wake of the hackgate scandal.
(and 53 other sites) Essex Action: Find out more on media
Remploy – not for sale! Emergency – stop the cuts ownership at: cpbf.org.uk
GMB, Unite Fire Brigades’ Union
Since 1946 Remploy has The FBU has been fighting a Manchester
provided supported jobs for long-running campaign to stop Protect our reps
thousands of disabled people. The 25 job cuts and £1.4 million Unite
government is considering closing of savings from the fire service Fujitsu workers are taking
all Remploy factories. in Essex. industrial action over the
Action: Sign the petition at: Action: Get the latest from: victimisation of a union rep and
saveremployfactories.co.uk essexfbu.co.uk the company’s failure to
16 View | November/December 2011
s get great results
implement agreements. Southampton contracts won pay rises of up
Action: Send messages of Hitting ’em where to 15% after a ballot for
support to Unite the union, it hurts industrial action.
Merchants Quay, Salford Quays, Unison and Unite Action: See pcs.org.uk/cs
Salford M50 3SG Local government workers
are fighting a city-council Tolpuddle
Newcastle-upon-Tyne imposed pay cut. Staggered (and the rest of rural Britain)
(and two other sites) strikes have focused on the Don’t scrap us
‘No’ to offshoring authority’s revenue generating Unite
PCS services such as refuse The coalition is scrapping
Success: 200 jobs saved from collection, bridge tolls, and the Agricultural Wages Board
being transferred to India the port. which has set minimum terms
following action by Hewlett Action: Send donations to for workers in the countryside
Packard workers. 12 Douglas Crescent, for 60 years.
Action: Visit pcs.org.uk/hp Southampton, SO19 5JQ, Action: Learn more from
made payable to: the Unite website:
Oxfordshire TGWU 2/8 strike fund. http://is.gd/Exlb6G
Save youth services
Unite Stockton-on-Tees Warrington
Youth workers – including Defending electricians’ Save local newspapers
those in David Cameron’s conditions National Union of Journalists
Witney constituency – have Unite Local journalists taking
held a series of strikes against Success: Stockton-based strike action to stop seven
cuts to frontline services. MJN Colston has been the first redundancies at a Warrington-
Action: Sign the petition at: construction employer to back based group of weekly papers
http://is.gd/TNQBuS down from plans to rip up owned by the giant US
electricians’ national terms corporation Gannet.
Plymouth and conditions. Action: Donate to the NUJ
Re-recognition win Action: Sign the petition: strike fund: nuj.org.uk
Success: Plymouth council petitions/13728 Warton, Lancashire
backs down and agrees to (and 115 other UK locations)
re-recognise Unison after a row Stroud Save BAE jobs
over new terms and conditions Keep Gloucestershire GMB, Unite
for workers at the authority. NHS public Defence contractor BAE
Trade unions across the country Unison, Unite Systems plans to axe nearly
– including PCS – had pledged Success: Gloucestershire NHS 3,000 jobs.
support for their Unison Trust was forced to postpone Action: Add your support at:
colleagues. plans to transfer 3,000 staff to a http://is.gd/ICJyFq
Action: See unison.org.uk social enterprise company –
believed by local people to be the Wick
Pontardawe first step towards privatisation. Tax office saved
Gleision colliery Action: The hold-up could be PCS
appeal fund brief. Stay in touch at the Stroud Success: a community campaign
Illustration: Cathrine Finnema/Eastwing
National Union of Mineworkers Against The Cuts website: with support from the local
The NUM started a financial stroudagainstcuts.co.uk MP won a two-year stay of
appeal for the families of four execution on a plan to close a
miners killed by a flood at a Telford tax office in the small Scottish
colliery in south Wales. The (and 33 other sites) town. Twenty jobs had been
union is also campaigning Fujitsu – record pay award under immediate threat.
to keep up safety standards in PCS Action: See the campaign
private pits. Success: PCS members working blog: http://wickwantswork.
Action: http://www.num.org.uk for Fujitsu on government blogspot.com
November/December 2011 | View 17
14,469 3,378 14,806 3,209
Salford Sedgemoor Sefton Sevenoaks
Stop the cuts Birm
England’s second city The experience of Birmingham prison is a
good indicator of what’s happening across the
is facing up to the country. It was a process begun by the Labour
administration that saw the institution market
battle against cuts. For tested; now, under the coalition, it will be
Birmingham, the forces taken over and run by G4S, the private
security firm. The ramifications are huge, as
of cuts and privatisation PCS rep Vici Whittall, who works for the
National Offender Management Service
are moving quickly – (NOMS), explains.
and the impact on She says: “This is very much the beginning
of these companies learning how to take over
communities as well as government services. G4S is very slick, very
glossy. It presents an attractive package that
public sector workers is leads people to feel that with such a good
likely to be immense employer, why be in a union?
“Private prisons are not necessarily
cheaper to run. But it takes the workers’
pensions off the government’s books. A
lot of the public don’t seem aware about
what these changes will mean, but for
example it may mean prison industries
being run not for the benefit of the state,
who imprisoned the offenders, but
Why did Vici decide to get involved?
“I’m just a housewife but you have to stand
up and be counted,” she says. “There was
an article written recently which said all
reps must stand up and become leaders,
and that’s what I’ve done.”
The Equality and Human Rights
Commission (EHRC) is another Midlands-
based government organisation facing
stringent cutbacks, possibly with the loss of
its vital helpline which gives advice to people
who have been the victim of discrimination.
This led to industrial action comprising
one-hour walkouts for staff in May.
Protecting jobs – and
Laura Ingram, a helpline adviser at the
EHRC and a PCS rep, says: “We’ve taken
action and it’s still continuing. We took part
in three one-hour walkouts in May and
June, and we’ve had a lot of support from
a lot of different organisations.
“The helpline is being outsourced, and we
don’t know if it’s going to be fit for purpose,
the number of people working for EHRC
will drop, the grants function is under threat
and will probably cease.” A sea of union banners get the messge across at the L
18 View | November/December 2011
Birmingham: the facts in figures
Population: 977,079 (2001 census),
1,001,200 (estimated 2005).
Projected population: 1,113,600 by 2028.
Government: Metropolitan Borough, City
Council governed by Conservative/Liberal
Democrat coalition. Labour 55 councillors
(+14 at 2011 elections), Conservatives 39
(-6), Liberal Democrats 24 (-7), Respect 2 (-1).
MPs: 10 constituencies – Labour 8,
Conservatives 1, Liberal Democrats 1.
Demographics (2001 census): Males
473,266 48.4%, females 503,821 51.6%.
Aged 0–4 7.2%, 5-15 16.3%, 16–17 2.8%,
18–19 3.2%, 20–24 7.6%, 25–44 28.3%
45–49 15.8%, 60–74 11.9%, 75–84 5.2%,
85 and over 1.7%.
Ethnicity: White British 65.6%, White Britain 5.0%, females 4.5%, Britain 2.5%.
Irish 3.2%, Black Caribbean 4.9%, Asian JSA claimants per unfilled vacancy 7.8 (West
Bangladeshi 2.1% Asian Indian 5.7%, Asian Midlands 5.0, Britain 5.7).
Pakistani 10.6%, Chinese 1.1%. Total employee jobs (2008 figures):
Employment: Economically active 484,400. Full-time 70.4%, part-time 29.6%.
– 468,100 (68.2%), West Midlands 74.2%, Earnings (calculated by workplace rather
Britain 76.2%. than residence): gross weekly pay for men
Out of work and claiming Job Seekers £534.70 (British average £540.50), gross
Allowance (July 2011) – 49,058 (7.3%), West weekly pay for women £436.40 (British
Midlands 4.8%, Britain 3.8%. Males 10.2%, average £439.80).
The grants function is a vital lifeline for West Midlands, not only increasing the
many groups, providing strategic funds for unemployment rate which is currently
organisations such as Coventry Rape and around 20%, but also decreasing access to
Sexual Abuse Centre, Grapevine and Walsall support, advice and information on
Domestic Violence, and legal funding for discrimination. This is happening when legal
Birmingham Disability Research Centre, aid is being cut and the Citizen Advice
Wolverhampton CAB and Disability Direct, Bureaus in the region are closing.
among others. “A lot of people came out to support us
Laura adds: “We’re worried about it so when we took action, and we’ve also been
we took the decision to walk out for an hour lobbying MPs. It’s quite difficult for people to
at a time so that we didn’t disrupt the service; comprehend what’s going to be left behind
we didn’t want to impose any action on before these cuts have actually happened so
those people who really need the service it’s about getting that message out.
and the helpline. We all work here for the “We’re defending our livelihood and
right reasons and we’re worried about what moral values. We didn’t want to do a full
will be left behind after these cutbacks. day strike because we didn’t want to disrupt
We’re concerned that in the future, if the service for its users; we wanted to make
Photo: Simon Hadley
you’re discriminated against, you’ll feel that a statement. I led people out on strike in
there’s nowhere to go. May and many of these people, me included,
“If these cuts go ahead, regionally, it hadn’t ever been on strike in their lives.
Liberal Democrats annual conference in Birmingham will have a huge impact on people in the But we received a lot of support, from our
November/December 2011 | View 19
2,646 8,558 10,753 3,153
Tewksbury Trafford Walsall Waverley
has to be done. It’s about the principle of
looking to the future and seeing what kind of
pensions and conditions will be available to
the next generation.”
The General Teaching Council (GTC) is
another institution based in the Midlands
which has been earmarked for closure by the
secretary of state for education, Michael
Gove. Unions and campaigners there have
“I’m just a housewife responded by battling to keep the essential
functions of the GTC, aware that the
but you have to stand minister is unlikely to make a U-turn on
up and be counted” such a public promise. As others around
the country have found, it is sometimes
Vici Whittall the case that cuts are announced without
waiting to see if the functions of the
institutions are needed or not.
PCS branch, from the public and from the Rep Martin Dean explains: “There was
media to get our message out there.” very little we could do as management was
told about the decision two hours before it
Cuts to the core was made public. But we campaigned to
The benefits office in Cannock is also under maintain the functions of the GTC and to
threat of imminent closure, among many up keep the work we do. We want to keep as
and down the country facing the axe under many people in jobs as possible because we
government cuts. Leading the battle to keep it know the value of what we do, and we’ve been
running is PCS, as rep Jason Ferragh explains: making the case for that through lobbying,
“We haven’t made it easy. A lot of people are writing to MPs, and taking part in press
trying to get their packages and conditions and radio interviews.”
sorted out before redeployment, and they’re Looking ahead to 30 November, he says:
worried that they could be left high and dry. “I think it’s regrettable that we have been put
“Staff have reached out to their local MP, in a position where we have to strike. No one
explaining the impact on the economy of wants to lose a day’s pay in this economic
200 people who are spending on average climate but negotiations are not taking place, “We want as many
£5 a day in the town, leaving. The council just meetings in which the main subjects are
is on board and we are continuing to not up for discussion. We are going to have to
people in jobs as possible
campaign actively and positively to work longer, pay more and get less out of it, because we know the
achieve the best result.” and that’s not up for discussion.”
As for the prospect of further strikes in And the cuts go on. A total of 326 value of what we do”
protest against pension changes in November, employees have been offered voluntary Martin Dean
he adds: “My personal view is that something redundancy terms at Advantage West
20 View | November/December 2011
5,574 8,895 2,815 7,150
Welwyn Hatfield West Lothian West Oxfordshire Worcester
Unions are a strong defence
In the city council, Unison workers have
taken strike action over the imposition of
a new contract, dubbed the ‘Martini’ contract
as it forces staff to work ‘anytime, anyplace,
anywhere’, and pay cuts of up to £2,000
for some workers earning only £14,000
to begin with.
Unions are forming the backbone of the
resistance to the coalition’s plans for the “We all work here for the
public sector, with many more employees
beginning to see the benefits of membership,
right reasons and we’re
as seen during a recent recruitment drive by worried about what will
PCS at the greenfield site of the Legal
Ombudsman in the centre of Birmingham. be left after these cuts”
Steve Battlemuch, PCS’s industrial officer, Laura Ingram
has been involved with recruitment and says:
“We hear a lot about unions being in decline,
but this is a completely new place with no as many as possible in employment.
members and we’re now building up from The story of Birmingham and the west
scratch, because people are seeing that Midlands is the story that is being repeated
trade unions are still relevant and can around the country: the loss of public sector
still help them to have a collective voice in jobs, those which have gone and those which
Midlands, the Regional Development the workplace.” are yet to go, is removing much-needed
Agency, leading the shadow business The situation in Birmingham has led to money from local communities at a time
secretary and local MP Pat McFadden to cooperation between public sector unions, when times were already tough; and valuable
say: “The impact of the coalition’s cuts is including PCS and Unison – whose members functions of government are being eroded in
already being felt but the wider impact is working at the threatened Connexions have the drive for privatisation, led by an ethical
the withdrawal of funds for economic taken part in strike action – and coordinated desire to break ‘big government’ and bring
development in this region.” And jobs are action to fight against the cuts. in the ‘big society’. But the private sector is
also under threat at the water regulator Birmingham Against the Cuts has not providing the jobs, not creating the jobs
Ofwat, whose base is in Birmingham. established a strong web presence to bring that are needed to drive the recovery, and
It’s not just large institutions which are various activists together, leading to a protest unemployment is rising ever higher. That’s
feeling the axe: the region is also suffering at the start of the Liberal Democrat party why the battle is being rejoined with
on a smaller scale. Merrisham Day Nursery conference, which took place in Birmingham renewed vigour, and why those at the
closed down, along with seven other day on 18 September. This linked together frontline are fighting harder than ever
nurseries in the city, despite a well organised unions and activists with a ‘Right To Work’ before. The stakes are too high.
and vociferous campaign, leading to parents message encouraging an alternative to
being forced to go to private nurseries much austerity and cutbacks, as well as promoting Learn more about what’s
further from home. the value of public sector jobs and keeping happening near you at pcs.org.uk
Photos: Roy Peters, Simon Hadley
November/December 2011 | View 21
‘Mutual’ plans: privatisa
From prisons to pensions
administration our public
services are under attack
from an old enemy
masquerading as a friend
Liverpool-based Peter Simpson*, together
with his colleagues at MyCSP, has the
responsible job of ensuring that the civil
service pension scheme is administered
properly. And yet, he may very soon
find himself in the ironic position of no
longer being eligible for a civil service
MyCSP finds itself one of the next parts
of the civil service to be eyed up by the
government for privatisation. Except that
this time privatisation has a new name:
‘mutual joint venture’.
There is an honourable tradition behind
the concept of a mutual, which goes back
to the nineteenth century idea of collective
endeavour. But unfortunately, that is not
what the government means by the term.
Indeed, the so-called ‘mutuals’ it wants to
set up break the central rule of mutuality
– the principle that people must choose
voluntarily to participate. Just as you can’t be
coerced against your will into joining, let’s say,
a local gardening club or a Saturday football
team, so you can’t be made to be a member of
a mutual – or at least not a genuine one.
But there’s certainly been no attempt by the
government to find out whether Peter and his
colleagues want to cast themselves off from
the civil service and sink or swim in the
“The government’s with share options of some kind, but life
lower down in a mutual joint venture will
murky waters of a sort-of-mutual. It was left current plans don’t even be a very different matter; the usual tale
to PCS to ask the question – and when the of redundancies and harsher working
union did approach MyCSP staff, the message pretend that the staff conditions. “At MyCSP, for example, it
back was an overwhelming one. will be left in control” seems very likely that we could be looking
Not only did Peter and his colleagues at a 50% head count reduction,” he says.
not want to be in a mutual, they were
prepared to take industrial action to try when you strip away the verbiage, it’s just The great public-sector sell off
to stop it happening. privatisation by another name. It’s still a It isn’t only MyCSP which is being eyed up
threat to the level of service provided to the greedily by the private sector. As PCS’s
Illustration: Masako Kubo/Eastwing
An uncertain future public, and to the jobs and the terms and national executive heard at its September
For PCS research officer John Medhurst, conditions of the people concerned.” meeting, the public sector status of many
nothing blows the gaff more convincingly In fact, the government’s current plans civil service functions have been increasingly
on the idea that somehow staff will be don’t even pretend that the staff will be left in under threat since the coalition government
empowered by leaving the civil service. control. The term ‘mutual joint venture’ came to power. For example, the Home
“Privatisation hasn’t gone away,” he says. means that a private sector company is being Office’s entire human resources function is
“It’s now being packaged under slogans such lined up to run it as a commercial concern. up for privatisation. Many other departments
as localism, the big society and mutuality, but Senior management may be bought off are also thinking of contracting out
22 View | November/December 2011
ation by another name
“The UK has the highest
percentage of prisons run
by private companies of
any country in the world”
indicates that the eventual outcome of the
process will be a huge transfer of public
functions to private sector commercial firms,
who will offer neither choice nor localism. On
the contrary they will provide public services
on the cheap via private sector monopoly,
while siphoning off profits to shareholders,”
John Medhurst explains.
The problem with ‘opening’ public
services to private firms in this way is that
generally the risk if anything goes wrong
remains firmly in the public realm. It is the
poor old taxpayer who has to pick up the
pieces if a private firm finds can’t make the
profits it thought and walks away from a
contract, or if it simply can’t run the service
to an adequate standard.
It is this concern that a crucial public
service could fail which has already
delayed the government’s plans for MyCSP.
“MyCSP administers civil service pensions
which are claimed by one and a half million
people, so it can’t afford to fail,” John
Medhurst points out.
Campaigning for a different future
This suggests one way for PCS members
to launch a counter offensive. PCS is already
planning a campaigning booklet spilling
remaining finance, IT and HR work. considered gung-ho for private enterprise. the beans on so-called ’mutuals’, and there
The Land Registry’s regional file stores The UK percentage could increase still is also a proposal to bring together reps
have already been passed to TNT, and further, to above 20%, if a further series and members in affected areas of the civil
now the whole future of the Land Registry of contracts go private. PCS members in service to discuss the ‘mutualisation’ threat
is potentially up for debate. The UK the affected prisons are campaigning and more fully. The PCS privatisation toolkit, a
Hydrographic Office is undergoing a joint work with the Prison Officers’ valuable bank of resources, is going to be
review with the likely result that it will be Association is proposed. revised and updated.
partly privatised. Some of VOSA’s vehicle More generally, PCS is linking its active
testing sites are closing, with privately A storm is brewing anti-privatisation campaigning with its wider
owned garages now being commissioned There’s a new dark cloud looming. The call for an alternative agenda to that being
to take over part of the testing role. government’s Open Public Services white pushed by the government. And that means,
In Britain’s prisons, the process of paper was made public in the middle of among other things, a proper appreciation of
privatisation is already well advanced. the holiday period, in July, and the token the importance of public service and the
Extraordinarily, the UK has the highest consultation period has already ended. value of the work undertaken by Peter
* Name has been changed
percentage of prisons run by private From this month, the government will Simpson and all the other PCS members in
companies of any country in the world. take forward ideas to implement what it calls the civil service, wherever they work.
At present, 15% of Her Majesty’s prisons ‘open public services’. What this means in a
are run commercially for profit, compared time of savage public spending cuts is For more information visit
with only 9% in the United States, normally unfortunately all too obvious. “All evidence pcs.org.uk/privatisation
November/December 2011 | View 23
Focus on you
i’m a PCS member because... My UNiON
“I believe unions My VOiCe
can be a force for Name: Diana MacDowall
change. We face Occupation: Higher executive
the worst attack officer, trading standards
partnership team, Office of Fair
on working people Trading (OFT)
in living memory. Union responsibilities: Secretary of
PCS OFT branch, chair of the OFT
We need to fight joint union committee
What is your
I would advise favourite book?
anyone who isn’t That’s impossible!
a member to My husband and I
read so much we
join us.” have extended into
the loft to make
Jonny Pickering, HM Revenue
room for our books.
and Customs, Longbenton
I like science fiction
and fantasy. The best book I’ve read
recently is The Rivers
of London by Ben Aaronovich.
It’s about wizards in the
Since they were transferred into the private sector a group of
PCS members in Lancashire have seen their wages eroded.
Now some of them earn barely more than the minimum wage What’s the most important
lesson life has taught you?
What’s it like working at … Not to lose your temper unless it is
really worth it. When I was 19 I lost
Xafinity in Fleetwood a job for losing my temper. So when
I am representing people in personal
cases at work I tell them not to be
embarrassed because I have done
What’s the best thing about so if the company won’t negotiate we will something worse.
working here? use the union recognition law to make
The location. Fleetwood is a seaside town them talk seriously about pay. What single thing would
and everyone lives within a nine-mile radius improve the quality of
so there is feeling of community. How can View readers support you? your life?
Hesketh House where we are based is also Write to your MP and ask them to object to To be able to teleport from
a workplace for PCS members who are still workers on government contracts being paid my home in Romford to work
in the public sector. Everyone is friendly just above the minimum wage and denied in central London.
and supports each other. proper trade union negotiations.
We would also welcome messages of What is your motto?
What work do PCS members do? support which we could show colleagues Just because you get older it doesn’t
We deal with the administration of various to boost morale. Please send messages to mean you have to grow up.
public sector pensions. We also deal with the email@example.com
post, communications and IT for various Why did you become a
government clients. union rep?
What is Xafinity? PCS was founded in 1998 by the
What are the main issues you face? It is a private company employing more merger of my old union – the Civil
We are campaigning for increased wages than 1,300 people in 14 locations and Public Services Association –
and a transparent pay structure. We have across the UK. with the Public Services, Tax and
asked the local MP’s to take it up with the According to its website Xafinity is: Commerce Union, which
Main photo: Andrew Aitchison
company. Some people earn just above “The UK’s leading specialists in employee represented more managerial
the minimum wage. benefit innovation and optimisation.” grades. I was an administrative
Bonus payments are discretionary and Unfortunately they don’t give their own officer at the time and I was
subjective. Employees who have be on employees the benefit of a decent wage. worried we were going to be
sick leave are sometimes excluded from Workers administer more than £11 billion swamped by managers, so
receiving a bonus payment. of payments to pensioners each year. I volunteered to be a rep.
More than 50% of us are union members
24 View |November/December 2011
They are essential workers who keep the wheels of government turning –
the messengers who deliver vital documents and packages for civil service
departments. Yet many are paid less than the widely-recognised living wage
We deserve better
John Morris* and his colleagues handle
between 7,500 and 13,000 letters and
packages of all shapes and sizes on a typical
day. In an average week, he says, it’s a total
of something like 37,000 items.
John is part of a 19-strong team of
messengers in Blackpool serving around
2,000 staff at the site which includes
Department for Work and Pensions offices,
the Service Personnel Veterans Agency and
the winter fuel programme offices.
The deliveries are brought in by the
Royal Mail and TNT in the morning and
by couriers throughout the day.
Every item must be personally delivered
as it may contain anything from vital
government files to job applications.
Then there’s the mail that goes out –
cheques for old soldiers, winter fuel payments
or answers to enquiries, which has to be
collected from around the site several times
a day, carefully checked and sent.
There’s a lot of walking and lifting
involved in the messenger’s job, John
says. “You’re always on the go. But I enjoy
the work because you get to meet the “I can’t afford any luxuries”
customers and they often compliment Emma* starts her day at 8.30 in the
you which makes you feel it’s worthwhile.” morning at the Jobcentre Plus office and
rushes to deliver incoming mail to
“It’s not really a living wage” recipients by 10:30. Mail arriving by letters and packages processed by
Blackpool Balfour Beatty in a typical week
John is single and just about manages courier during the day must be on the
on his salary but feels for other messengers addressee’s desk within 90 minutes.
who have greater commitments. It’s a busy day but she likes her job.
“It’s not really a live wage when you look “I have to make sure everything is
at all the costs going up,” he says. “Living addressed correctly and goes out in the
standards are falling for a lot of people. right way, properly sealed and stamped
per hour – the living wage PCS is
Life is really hard for messengers with and on time,” she says. “I save everyone
* Name has been changed
campaigning for (£8.30 in London)
families to support.” having to worry about the post.”
There are about 1,000 messengers Emma was a typist and switchboard
based at DWP offices nationwide, all operator before being transferred to her
now working on contracts with Balfour new employer, Balfour Beatty, five years ago. below the European Decency Threshold, set
Beatty after the service was privatised If it were not for the fact that she is at £15,700 for a single person. “We’re saying
some years ago. already receiving her pension in addition to to the DWP and Balfour Beatty that poverty
In this year’s pay negotiations PCS is pay must be eliminated,” he says.
Illustration: Peter Mac/Eye Candy
her pay and no longer has a family to
arguing they should be paid at least the support, life would be very hard, she says. “Many responsible employers are signed
rate identified by the living wage campaign “If it weren’t for the pension I would up to the living wage. It’s time our messengers
as the amount required to provide a family have to move,” she says. “I can just about were paid the minimum needed to maintain
with the essentials of life, currently £7.20 per make ends meet but I can’t afford any a reasonable standard of living.”
hour and £8.30 in London. luxuries. For the important work
PCS national officer Paul Barnsley points messengers do I think we deserve better.” Learn more about our living wage
out that at least 90% of the messengers are campaign at pcs.org.uk/cs
November/December 2011 | View 25
Our star letter wins
Marks and spencer Who is responsible?
£25 sponsored by The 30 November strike will be and the country as a whole.
LV=Frizzell, a PCs+ hugely significant for the trade Supporting a campaign is
approved provider of union movement. But before we not just about saying to the
car and home insurance get there, I would like to ask PCS rep, “we’re right behind the
members a question: are you union”, it’s about demonstrating
willing to take a slice of the that you are.
responsibility pie? I am pleading with all PCS
All over the country PCS reps members to stand together.
continue to mount campaigns In the lead up to 30 November
to save jobs and oppose attacks attend meetings and rallies;
on pensions but all too often get involved with handing
it is the reps that are left doing out leaflets to the public;
all the work. and, most of all, when the
Often a rep looks behind day itself arrives, don’t have
them and finds they are standing a lie in or go shopping, get
alone – despite working in offices down to your picket line and
where we constantly hear make your contribution a
members moaning about what is visible one.
happening to them, their families Mark Chapman
We need honest leaders was a PCS rep in west Yorkshire. need to engage more with
Nick Clegg bragged on the BBC’s A member was concerned PCS and other unions before
Andrew Marr Show that the about a cut in his wages which he things escalate to the tribunal
government is spending £700 had queried with the company stage. The case cost the
billion a year. He also said this who dismissed it out of hand. company a large sum of money
was more than at any time under The following employment in arrears – pay, costs and
Blair or Brown. tribunal ruled in our favour and compensation. It also paved the
However, under Blair and set a precedent for 100-plus cases. way for others to follow.
Brown there were no austerity This highlights why employers Darren Westmoreland
measures, the NHS was not
being devastated, the public
sector took some hits but Twitter: what they’re 20
zz Sep: Hutton: “I accept what
certainly not the annihilation saying about us Mark Serwotka said.”
of our welfare state and society
that is being dished up by Join the 5,000 plus that 19
zz Sep: David Cameron:
this bunch of millionaires in are already following PCS “System in danger of going
the cabinet. on Twitter, and receive broke.” http://j.mp/k6F5fp Steve
In opposition you often heard regular updates and up to the Webb (pensions minister): “Not
the Lib Dems’ fantasy policies minute news on our campaigns. about affordability.” #PCS #n30
Letters to the editor made full in the knowledge that Here is a selection of some of 16
zz Sep: Ch4 News @Factcheck
Send your letters to: they knew they would never our most popular recent tweets quotes Hutton, “I accept what
The editor, PCS View make power. Now that they are and ‘re-tweets (RT)’: Mark Serwotka said in his letter
PCS, 160 Falcon Road in government – by default – [to the FT]” http://is.gd/tnaBVA
London SW11 2LN. they still dish up the same level 28
zz Sep RT: @OwenJones84 #pensions #PCS #n30
Or email to of fallacy in their representation Here I am proudly flaunting my 16
zz Sep RT: @LRCinfo Unions
firstname.lastname@example.org of Gideon Osborne’s UK support for @pcs_union’s fight irrelevant in private sector?
economic nightmare. http://is.gd/3gYf5u (Marred @pcs_union wins 11% pay rise
The letters page is for members It is now clear that not only slightly by a bizarre facial for low paid members at Fujitsu
to exchange views. Please note is the UK economy tanking, so expression) #lab11 http://bit.ly/oQ3WxR #solidarity
that PCS View receives many too is the Lib Dems’ public 27
zz Sep: Please do this civil 16
zz Sep RT: @OwenJones84
more letters than it is able to support. Where are the honest service consultation on John Hutton’s pensions
publish. Publication of any letter leaders when you need them? pensions and pass the link to arguments taken apart by
does not imply support for the Name supplied other civil servants @pcs_union’s Mark Serwotka
views of individual members, http://tinyurl.com/62altq9 – http://is.gd/NXOkGM
either by the union or the editor. Talk to us #pcs #prospect #fda (via @lrcinfo)
Letters should be under 250 Further to your feature, ‘Welfare 23
zz Sep: Yes @Ed_Miliband there
words and may be edited for to no work’ (October 2011), I ‘is’ an alternative. It’s here pcs. Follow us at
length or clarity. had a similar experience while I org.uk/altdoc #PCS #n30 @PCs_union today
26 View |November/December 2011
Your guide to what’s happening in the cultural, arts and entertainment world
Since it was founded in 1961,
Private Eye has employed
generations of great British
cartoonists who have all had a
way of mocking politicians. The
display will explore how the
magazine has used graphic satire
and humour to accompany
serious investigative journalism.
Admission is free. Catch it
until January 2012. There’s also
a book to celebrate Private
Eye’s 50 years which is available
now from vam.ac.uk or
Warhol is here
Open to anyone who wants to
forget their day job for a while, of British fascism and how he
the De La Warr Pavilion, became a dedicated anti-fascist.
Bexhill-on-Sea, a modernist Available for £13.50 from
icon of contemporary art on the hopenothate.org.uk
Thoroughly Ides of March, directed and south coast
modern millican starring Clooney, is a political of England, For freedom
One time civil servant and drama where an idealistic from now until If you like opera and want to
jobcentre worker, comedian, press secretary for a new 26 February support Amnesty International
TV favourite and household presidential candidate gets a 2012, has a free in its 50th year, book now for a
name, Sarah Millican, changed crash course on dirty politics Andy Warhol celebratory concert at London’s
her life when her husband during his stint on the campaign exhibition Royal Festival Hall on Thursday,
walked out on her and she trail. It’s in cinemas now. where you can also be a part 26 January 2012 where conductor
joined a comedy workshop. For more see idesofmarch- of the show. Esa-Pekka Salonen shows his
She won a best comedy movie.com If you want to draw, paint, support for freedom of
newcomer award in 2008 and make an advert, take a photo, expression along with the
has been entertaining the British Celebrating satire write or create sounds in the true Philharmonia Orchestra.
public with her hilarious views To mark the 50th anniversary ‘many artists make one art-work’ Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero,
on modern life on her current of the notorious magazine Factory spirit and to be part of a chilling political statement,
tour, Thoroughly Modern Private Eye, London’s V&A the exhibition go to dlwp.com tells the story of a political
Millican, which is almost a museum is holding a display prisoner whose jailor allows
complete sell-out. looking at this particularly Hope not hate him to escape in a gesture of
If you can’t catch the tour, British phenomenon. Hope not Hate is Searchlight’s fraternity. In reality it is a cruel
Sarah has a new DVD, campaign to counter racism joke, as the prisoner runs
Chatterbox Live, released on and fascism. Formed in 2005 as straight into the arms of the
21 November. It shows the a positive antidote to the BNP grand inquisitor.
lovable Geordie sewing a it is supported by the Daily A special 20% discount on
humorous thread through Mirror, trade unions, community tickets is available for Amnesty
life’s more bizarre moments. groups and artists like Eddie members by calling the box office
Check out Sarah’s remaining Izzard and Billy Bragg, Hope is on 0800 652 6717 and quoting
tour dates or order her DVD promoting a new book where all ‘Amnesty 20%’. Find out more
on sarahmillican.co.uk proceeds bought through Hope from philharmonia.co.uk/
not Hate go to the Searchlight concerts
Ides of March Educational Trust.
And Sarah likes George Clooney. The book, ‘Hate, My Life in Tell us what you
One because “he’s gorgeous” the British Far Right’, by Matthew would like to see on
and two “because he believes in Collins, is a true story of one this page by emailing
trade unions.” His new film, man’s journey from the darkness email@example.com
November/December 2011 | View 27
Enjoy a West End theatre deal
Entries should arrive no later than 2 December 2011
Win a £50 Virgin
Discover the magic of London’s famous West End with a fabulous theatre and dinner Experience Days
package for two*.
The package offers you a chance to enjoy a delicious pre-theatre dinner for two at a popular central
London restaurant followed by a show of your choice from a selected list of top West End
Looking for unique gift ideas? Whether
productions. Among the shows included in the deal are the star-studded musical Chicago, Willy
it’s for the man in your life who has
Russell’s Blood Brothers, or the gripping play Woman in Black.
everything, the woman in your life who
Whatever show you want to see, this package makes a perfect gift for any theatre
wants everything, or the kids in your life
lover. For a chance to win please see the ‘How to enter’ box.
that will never be satisﬁed, Virgin
*For more details about the West End theatre package, visit pcsdiscountsclub.co.uk .
Experience Days has the answer.
With hundreds of exciting experiences on
offer – from driving a Lamborghini or indoor
skydiving, to being a zookeeper for a day or
singing your heart out in a recording studio.
There’s something to suit loved ones of all ages.
Whichever experience you choose, the whole
family is sure to have a day to remember.
To be in with a chance of winning a £50 Virgin
Experience Days gift card for you or your
family, see the ‘How to enter’ section.
Halfords gift card up for grabs giftcard
Halfords has 460 stores nationwide and its products include cycles, car
parts, in-car technology, alloy wheels, roof boxes, child seats and
Its own brands include Ripspeed for car enhancement, and Bikehut for cycle
enthusiasts. All stores offer the unique ‘we’ll ﬁt it’ service for car parts, child
seats, satnav and in-car entertainment systems.
PCS members can access a 7% discount on Halfords products when
visiting pcsdiscountsclub.co.uk and ordering Halfords-branded vouchers.
In addition, to be in with a chance to win a £50 Halfords gift
card, please refer to the ‘How to enter’ box opposite. Win!
28 View ||April 20112010
28 View | November/December 2011
26 View October 2011
28 June 2011
PCS Giveaways November2011.indd 26 24/10/11 09:57:04
Books to win
With Gently Smiling Jaws
by Terry White
Marcus Moon is trying to balance running a multimillion-dollar project with recovering
$2 million stolen from his company by the brilliant con-man Mazin Al Jabril. To get one over
on Mazin, he carefully constructs a clever trap from which there can be no escape, in this very funny
story of greed, revenge and romance.
To win one of 25 copies, answer the following question:
How much money does conman Mazin steal from Marcus’s company?
Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org under the heading ‘PCS – WGSJ’
Win! by Cherry Radford
Men Dancing is a humorous and moving story exploring the heights of one woman’s search
for fulﬁ lment, passion and the perfect pas de deux. Obsessive love and secret relationships
keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Rosie Buchanan loves ballet, so after meeting the charismatic Royal Ballet dancer Alejandro Cortés on a
train she should be over the moon.
But Alejandro won’t leave her mind. Her infatuation with him is a means of escape from her
demanding life but becomes an aching obsession.
Soon, Rosie is fabricating reasons to be close to the charismatic star and so begins a complex dance of
passion, betrayal, loss and redemption.
To win one of ﬁve copies, answer the following question: Where does Rosie meet the Royal
Ballet star, Alejandro Cortes?
Send your answer to email@example.com under the heading ‘PCS – Men Dancing’.
E d t
Exceed your expectations How to enter &
with Alfa Travel Win! more info
There is nothing quite like a seaside break to lift the spirit and recharge the
● To be in with a chance of winning
batteries. And with our wide selection of resorts covering most of the UK, you any PCS+ giveaway , simply register at
can travel as near or as far as you like. www.pcsdiscountsclub.co.uk
Alfa Travel is the fastest-growing coach holiday company in the UK. With prices starting from £167 for a
ﬁve-day festive break – including return travel, hotel accommodation, excursions, traditional British ● Automatic entry for those already
breakfasts and four-course evening meals – you’ll struggle to ﬁnd better value elsewhere. Check out our registered.
new-look website alfatravel.co.uk
To be in with a chance of winning a £50 Alfa Travel holiday voucher, answer the following ● Postal entries are accepted – send a
question: What type of holidays does Alfa Travel operate? postcard to PCS Discounts Club, All
Clear House, 1 Redwing Court, Ashton
Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Road, Romford RM3 8QQ
Even if you don’t win the competition, you can still be a winner: quote PCF* on any Alfa holiday and you
will receive a £10 discount per person. Call now on 08451 305 666 or visit alfatravel.co.uk ● Postcards should be marked with
* Discount valid on holidays of ﬁve days or more, on new bookings only and the booking must be made before 1 December 2011. The offer either West End Theatre, Virgin or
is valid on all departures until 12 December 2011 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. The offer can be withdrawn at Halfords.
any time. For full terms and conditions see main holiday brochure.
● E-Mail: giveaways@
September winners oakwoodpromotions.co.uk stating
in the header box either West End
Hotel Pronto Theatre, Virgin or Halfords.
R Smith, Kent
VF Barnes, Surrey ● Entries should arrive no later than
NA Sumner, Preston 2 December 2011
Leisure Vouchers If you think you may have won a
B Downie, Herts giveaways competition but have not
Virgin Vouchers received a prize please contact:
OF Gunney, Herts Steve Grice on 020 7880 6220 or
Alfa Travel email@example.com
D Rollins, Walsall
June 2011 | View 27
October • October 2010 29
November/December 2011 | View 29
PCS Giveaways November2011.indd 27 24/10/11 09:43:10
One winner, to be picked at random, will win a £25 Marks and Spencer voucher
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Across Down
2 What are we striking to 1 Who are we calling on this
8 protect on 30 November? (8) month to pay their workers a
8 Dainty (6) living wage? (7, 6)
9 10 11
9 Cut of meat (4) 2 The UK has the highest
11 Irritable (5) percentage of prisons that
12 13 14
12 Vista (4) have been__? (10)
15 16 13 Rail (3) 3 Mark __, PCS’s general
15 Gemstone (4) secretary (8)
17 18 19 16 Dangle (5) 4 Chooses (4)
17 Stalk (4) 5 Mesh (3)
19 Whisky (3) 6 Pig pen (3)
20 Vehicle (3) 7 Who do we describe as
20 21 22
22 Unit of area (4) Britain’s biggest ‘tax shirker’?
23 Upright (5) (6, 7)
24 Spurn (4) 10 Nothing (3)
25 26 27 25 Plus (3) 13 Which city’s fight against the
27 Small branch (4) cuts do we feature this
28 29 30 28 Embarrass (5) month? (10)
30 Norse god of thunder (4) 14 Some (3)
31 31 Dread (6) 18 Long-distance running race (8)
32 Superficial compliance with 21 Vase (3)
32 recruitment requirement (8) 24 Remain (3)
26 Noise made by a dog (4)
October’s solution Across 1 October 5 Foal 7 Use 10 A colleague 28 Skill (3)
11 Clock 12 Eel 13 Odes 14 Rat 17 Zinc 18 Lair 19 Ed 21 Do 29 Show disapproval by
22 Nose 24 Rave 25 Set 26 Asps 29 Pie 30 Gnome 31 Offshoring shouting (3)
32 Ink 33 Eyed 34 Sawmill
Down 2 Cello 3 Back 4 Ruled 5 Feels 6 Angora 8 Sleepers 9 Destroy
10 Active 13 Occasion 15 Aid 16 Pension 18 Living 20 Doe 23 Stuffy
26 Aphid 27 Perks 28 E-mail 30 Gnaw
The September crossword winner is S Cook, Lincoln Sudoku puzzle number 44
Send your completed crossword to:
Competition editor, PCS, 160 Falcon Road, London SW11 2LN to 9 8 2 6 4 1
be in with a chance to win. The closing date is 9 December 2011.
Please put the crossword month on the outside of the envelope. 5
Name 3 1 8
The solution to
4 1 3 8
Address puzzle number 43 4 1
1 6 5 4 1
5 1 7 8 3 2 4 6 9
7 4 2
5 3 1 9 4 5 7
Useful telephone numbers for members
Benevolent Fund 020 7801 2601 Financial Advice 08000 858 590 PCS HQ 020 7924 2727
Breast Cancer Care Line 0808 800 6000 Health Advice Helpline 0870 523 4998 PCS Proud 020 7801 2683
Counselling Helpline 0870 850 6919 Joining PCS 0800 317 464 Personal Case Advice 020 7924 2727
Debt Management 0800 716 239 Legal Advice (non-work issues) 0800 916 9066 Racial Incident Hotline 020 7801 2678
Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247 Membership Records 020 7801 2670 Wills 020 7801 2601
30 View | November/December2011
To advertise in this section, please call George Parker
on 020 7880 6217 or email: George.firstname.lastname@example.org
UK HOLIDAYS OVERSEAS HOLDAYS
RAILWAYWAGON luxuriously SPAIN Two bedroom, roof-top Lanzarote - Playa Blanca. ORLANDO
PALM COURT HOTEL converted, sleeps 2,4,6. 4 poster apartment in the historic town Affordable detached villa. From Luxury 4 bedroom, 3 bath villa.
EASTBOURNE beds. Pets welcome. No giraffes. of sitges: Barcelona 35mins on £300 per week, sleeps up to 6 Own secluded pool, 15 mins
Yorkshire Wolds. 01377 217 342. people. Also ideal for a long winter from Disney.
train. Wonderful views; walkabout break. Tel: Bill on 01454 260619
www.thewagons.co.uk See www.sgbvillas.co.uk
balcony; 5 minutes walk from beach, www.lanzarotevilladirect.co.uk Tel: 020 8482 2830
harbour, and rail station. E-mail,
Skipton Yorkshire Dales. 1/2/3 bedroom
holiday cottages. Save up to £100
on brochure price by direct booking.
100yds from Seafront and Bandstand. Telephone Skipton 01756 796529
2 minutes Town Centre
Contact David and Louise Burdett
for your free colour brochure
Cornwall. B&B Beautiful Tamar Valley.
Welcoming, quiet, rural location, no chil-
dren no pets! Ideal touring location.
Amazing breakfasts. 01579 370474
3 & 4 night breaks available all year.
Daily and weekly rate available.
INFO Travel Insurance
Especially arranged for PCS members and their families
Christmas and New Year Programme. Struggling to make
ends met? Prices from: Comprehensive Cover:
Romantic Retreat The Fund is 100% committed Individual: £59 £10,000,000 medical
Just For Two to supporting you.
Enchanting cottage adjoining C16th To find out how The Civil Couple: £72 £5,000 cancellation
Manor House. 4 poster bed, spiral Service Benevolent Fund can help PERSONAL Family: £82 £1,500 baggage
staircase, inglenook fireplace. Secluded visit www.csbf.org.uk
in 5 acres. North Devon/Cornwall
border. Near breathtaking coast. Also buy online: www.pcstravelinsurance.co.uk
cottages for 2-4. Short Breaks
(01409) 241400 or telephone: 0844 482 9630
Rock Insurance Services Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA)
www.westdownhouse.co.uk Company limited by guarantee registered no. 7286399
Charity registered in England and Wales no.1136870, Scotland SC041956 under FSA number 300317 and are the official providers to PCS members for travel insurance.
We’re here to help you get the most out of life.
Enjoy life. per person
Whether you’re looking for basic medical advice, or healthcare for your
whole family, Benenden Healthcare is here to take a weight off your mind.
Membership is just £1.50 per person, per week for our discretionary
healthcare that can give you fast-access to consultation and diagnosis,
as well as a wide range of medical treatment options across the UK.
No age restrictions. No medicals. No exclusions for pre-existing conditions
– simply start enjoying life more!
That’s why 1,000 new people join us each week!
ONE NIGHT FREE
Join before 31st December 2011 and receive one
night completely free for two people in a UK hotel†
Get in touch to ﬁnd out more today.
or call 0845 270 3819*quoting PCS
†Offer is open to new members joining before 31.12.11 quoting the reference PCS. One free hotel break per member. Qualifying members can stay in a participating hotel for one night completely free of charge with absolutely no obligation to dine
or drink at the bar. Breakfast is not included in this offer. One Night Free voucher will be sent within 28 days of the 14-day cooling off period. No cash alternative to this promotion will be offered. Promoter: The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited,
Holgate Park Drive, York, YO26 4GG. For full terms & conditions visit www.benenden.org.uk/pcs. *Calls cost a maximum of 4p per minute for BT customers. The price of calls from non-BT lines will vary. Lines open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Calls may
be recorded. Benenden Healthcare membership is initially available to current or former employees of the public sector, and other approved organisations whose aims and objectives are deemed compatible with those of the Society. Examples of such
employers are the Post Ofﬁce, Civil Service, BT, mutual organisations and not-for-proﬁt organisations. Employees or members of approved UK registered charities, co-operatives or credit unions are also eligible. Some services have a six month qualifying
period. The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited is an incorporated friendly society, registered under the Friendly Societies Act 1992, registered number 480F. The Society’s contractual business (the provision of tuberculosis beneﬁt) is authorised by the
FSA. The remainder of the Society’s business is undertaken on a discretionary basis. The Society is subject to FSA requirement for prudential management. Registered Ofﬁce: The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited, Holgate Park Drive, York, YO26 4GG.
November/December 2011 | View 31
September 2011 View 31
PCS November2011 Class.indd 31 24/10/11 09:45:21
aren’t on price
See how we compare…
Home insurance savings Car insurance savings
Aviva £305.99 Admiral £457.31
More Than £245.40 Post Ofﬁce £370.39
SAVE UP TO £128.58 SAVE UP TO £196.24
Quotations in the table are based on a 3 bedroom, semi-detached house built in 1975, postcode Your premium will be based on your individual circumstances. Quotations within the table are based
BH18 9NB for a married female aged 50. In all cases quotes are based on contents cover on a 50 year old married female living in postcode BH18 9NB driving a 2002 Peugeot 406 LX HDI
excluding accidental damage cover and a limit of £75,000. Buildings cover includes accidental 110 with at least 9 years no claims discount for comprehensive, social domestic, pleasure and
damage and is up to £400,000 for More Than, up to £1million for LV and unlimited for Aviva. Total commuting cover. Total accidental damage excess £250. Prices include motor legal expenses and
excess is £250. The price includes Insurance Premium Tax and legal cover. Quotes are taken from Insurance Premium Tax. Quotes taken from insurers’ websites on 9th August 2011.
insurer’s websites and are correct as at 11th July 2011.
For a quote from the only PCS+ approved provider of car and home insurance:
Call today on Or go online at
0800 756 8276 frizzell.co.uk/pcs
For textphone: ﬁrst dial 18001. Lines open 8am–9pm to get a quote or give us your renewal dates and
Mon–Fri, 8am–5pm Sat and 9am–5pm Sun. Calls may we’ll contact you at the right time.
PCS acts as an introducer appointed representative to the Liverpool Victoria group of companies
for General Insurance. LV= and Frizzell are registered trade marks of Liverpool Victoria Friendly
Society Limited and LV= Frizzell is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.
Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited, registered in England and Wales number 3232514
is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 202965.
Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. Tel: 01202 292333. WS21121253.
p32_PCSViewNov11.indd 1 6/10/11 11:33:02