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					PCS View September 2010

In this edition
Our compensation scheme: the fight continues
   • Despite two High Court victories the government is still threatening PCS members‟
        redundancy pay
Pay problems reach boiling point
   • Attacks on our wages are provoking an angry response
Campaign updates
   • „Justice under the hammer‟ campaign launched
   • Young workers demonstrate against the cuts
   • PCS wins two prestigious learning awards
   • Leading the way at Pride
   • Miners‟ gala cheers PCS‟s anti-cuts campaign
What‟s it like working at…Government Offices Network
   • Support the members who co-ordinate services to the English regions
Grassroots hero
   • Samantha La Roche explains why she decided to get active in our unio
Redundancy: know your rights
   • Wide-scale cuts to our public and civil services mean it is more important than ever to
        protect our rights
Stop the cuts: there is an alternative
   • A major new campaign is demanding an end to attacks on public services and a
        better way to deal with the country‟s problems
The perils of privatisation
   • With the government threatening to sell off our jobs and privatise our services, PCS
        is stepping up the campaign to protect the public sector from private profit
Just the ticket
   • From yellow lines to red routes and all things in between: we look at 50 years of
        police traffic wardens
   • Letters
   • Employment doctor
   • Competitions

Mark Serwotka, General secretary
“It is vital every PCS member helps to get the message out there that cuts are
unnecessary, there is an alternative”
We are only a few months into the new coalition government but already it is clear we are in
for the fight of our lives.
The attacks have been raining down on members from day one: pay freezes, pension
reviews, whole organisations abolished, massive departmental job cuts, and draconian
proposals for our compensation scheme.
The government tells us „We‟re all in this together‟, a line borrowed from the teen film High
School Musical, but the love-in between Cameron and Clegg is proving more bitter than
Members understandably feel under attack, but we are not alone. This coalition government
has decided that public services and public sector workers should pay for this crisis.
The NHS and the education system are being attacked, the Royal Mail is threatened with
privatisation, and the welfare state is facing a new assault on people‟s rights to live with
So in our workplaces, in our neighbourhoods, throughout the public sector and across the
trade union movement we should understand that we are in this struggle together.
It is very clear who is not in this fight with us: the business sector, rewarded with nearly £25
billion of tax breaks over the next five years; the directors of the FTSE 100 companies who
have had another year of inflation-busting pay rises; the city bankers for whom the bonus
bonanza is back, and this coalition government.
Let us be clear, the attacks on public services, pensions, pay, and welfare are ideological.
This government would be doing this whether or not there was a deficit. The deficit is just a
handy excuse.
It is vital that every PCS member helps to get the message out there that cuts are
unnecessary – there is an alternative based on closing the £120 billion tax gap – and we can
defeat this government‟s cuts.
But to do that we need to work together, and that means encouraging your colleagues to join
the union, building links with other local trade unions and community groups who are fighting
cuts, and using the local media, social networking websites, and even having conversations
with friends and neighbours to explain why cuts are not necessary.
Our trade union movement was founded on principles like „together we‟re stronger‟, „united
we stand, divided we fall‟, and „unity is strength‟.
We need to put those principles into action like never before.

Sharon Breen, Editor
“Government cuts signal a shocking destruction of our public services”
The government‟s plans to freeze our pay, slash our jobs and attack our pensions have been
described as a „declaration of war‟. They are.
They signal a shocking destruction of our public services and represent one of the worst
attacks ever on our jobs, conditions and futures.
We did not cause this crisis. We should not be made to pay for it.
We believe there are better, smarter ways to deal with Britain‟s current economic problems.
Turn to page 5 to learn more and find out how you can get involved in this vitally important
Over the next five years the government believes more than half a million jobs – at least
2,000 a week – will be axed in the public sector as a result of spending cuts.
This means privatisation and outsourcing are a fast growing threat to our jobs and public
services. Turn to pages 18 and 19 to learn more.
With the government threatening wholesale cuts to our public and civil services, it is more
important than ever to know your rights. On pages 14 and 15 we look at how redundancy
might affect you and what to do should the worst happen.
Elsewhere in this issue of View we: look at 50 years of traffic wardens (page 24); explore our
international work (page 25) and update you on our campaigns (pages 7 to 11).

Janice Godrich President
“The scale of the attacks we face means we need every single member to get
Despite our legal victory over proposals to cut the civil service compensation scheme, as
reported in the last issue of View, we once again have to defend the scheme from attack.
This time it is the coalition government‟s turn to try to slash our redundancy terms to make it
cheaper to get rid of jobs.
Members are already facing a two year pay freeze, office closures, and privatisation; it is
now clear the government will also try to come for our pensions.
The scale of the attacks we face means we need every single member to be involved in our
national campaign against the cuts.
Members‟ meetings will take place throughout September and October and I urge all
members to attend one near to them.
But don‟t wait until then to get involved. We need members to lobby their MPs to ask them to
in turn lobby ministers to get support for an alternative to these brutal attacks to our jobs and
If we are to be in the best position to defend ourselves we also need to recruit non-members
and work with other organisations with whom we have common interests – whether that be
joint union campaigning or working with voluntary organisations rooted in our communities.
Public sector alliance work and town committees are well established in some areas where
there is a good tradition of joint working. We need to build on this to create unity to fight the
The scale of the cuts may seem daunting, but we know that where we have been active,
organised and fought back in the past, we have had successes. We now face our most
serious threat ever, not only to jobs, but to the basis of the welfare state.
In order to stop this dishonest attempt to put the blame for the economic crisis at the feet of
ordinary people, we must achieve maximum unity.
Remember, we did not cause the economic crisis. It should not be us who pays for it.

Fight stepped up against redundancy pay cuts
Our fight against the cut in civil servants‟ redundancy pay is being stepped up with the
government intent on changing the law to drastically reduce terms.
The High Court has ruled twice in PCS‟s favour that it was unlawful for the previous
government to make detrimental changes for serving staff without our agreement.
Despite this, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude laid the superannuation bill in parliament
on 15 July to severely limit redundancy terms, which the union maintains would make it
easier and cheaper to cut thousands of jobs.
PCS deputy general secretary Hugh Lanning gave evidence on 27 July to MPs on the public
administration select committee outlining our case against cuts to redundancy terms.
Hugh said the bill was „possibly illegal and wrong in principle‟ and PCS remains ready to
negotiate a fair agreement that protects the rights of existing civil and public servants, while
maintaining commitment to opposing the cuts.
He reminded MPs the terms of the scheme are “contractual rights that accrue through length
of service and cannot be change without agreement.”
More than 120 MPs, including almost a quarter of Liberal Democrats, have joined a call for
the government to agree a negotiated settlement.
Maude has indicated he is prepared to talk, but only on a limited set of criteria.
The bill has its second reading on 7 September. Get your MP to sign early day motion 301
against attacks on redundancy rights by following the link at

News: Read the latest from around the union
Stop the cuts: there is an alternative
PCS has launched a major, new campaign to persuade the government to stop
attacking the public sector and plug the budget deficit by cracking down on tax
evasion and investing in public services.
The huge cuts in public spending already announced will destroy our jobs, working
conditions and public services, the union fears.
Further draconian measures are expected on 20 October when the government announces
its spending review – for which departments have been asked to put forward proposals for
up to 40% cuts. This could lead to thousands of PCS members‟ jobs coming under threat.
The message of the campaign, which we are taking to the Trades Union Congress this
month, is that there is a fairer, more efficient way to plug the national deficit, including
collecting the £120 billion of taxes that is avoided or evaded each year, reigning in the use of
civil service consultants, scrapping Trident and reducing waste.
We are calling on PCS members to: work with local sister unions and community and
welfare groups to build solidarity for the campaign; attend members‟ meetings in branches
and take part in a week of action, timed to coincide with the spending review.
As we went to press, a picture was emerging of the scale of the cuts: the Department for
Work and Pensions has announced plans to axe 8,000 jobcentre staff by March 2011; job
cuts of 1,820, 22% of the total staff, are proposed in the Crown Prosecution Service; up to
half of staff in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport could lose their jobs and up to
1,700 posts are to go in the UK Border Agency.
A third of courts face closure and Revenue and Customs is planning to cut opening hours in
117 tax enquiry centres, with further reductions being considered.
We have also strongly condemned plans to abolish several non-departmental public bodies
which could lead to thousands of jobs and services being axed in areas including: education,
regional regeneration, equality and crime prevention.
Slashing £11 billion from welfare benefits and increasing VAT to 20% from next year will also
punish the poorest in society for an economic crisis caused by financial speculators.
For the latest on the campaign visit
Public sector pay reaches crisis point
The government‟s pledge to cut the pay of all public servants has provoked an angry
reaction says national pay officer Beth Lamont
On 22 June the emergency budget imposed a two-year pay freeze for all public servants
earning over £21,000. Those earning £21,000 or less will receive an increase of at least
£250 consolidated for each of the two years.
For all civil servants £250 would represent an increase of less than 2% while inflation is
currently at 5%. So both those whose pay has been frozen and those receiving £250 are
having their pay cut in real terms.
This announcement came at the same time as planned cuts of up to 40% in departments,
attacks on redundancy terms to make it cheaper to cut jobs, and a clear signal that pensions
are next in line.
Civil servants have already suffered pay restraint over recent years with average increases
at half the rate of inflation, while many at the top of their pay range have had their pay
Civil servants are paid less than workers in the private sector, despite what the mainstream
media would have you believe.
Office for National Statistics figures show average civil service pay is £22,850 compared to
£24,970 in the private sector. A study by Incomes Data Services shows that when you
compare civil service salaries at admin officer level they are 21% lower than in the private
sector. At executive officer level pay is 18% less than in the private sector.

Unfair and unequal
Not only are civil servants poorly paid, they are unfairly paid. A civil servant in one part of the
civil service can be paid at a wildly different rate from a colleague in another part of the
service. For example, an executive officer at the maximum in the Veterinary Laboratories
Agency, an agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), can
earn 50% more than an executive officer at the max in another Defra agency, Cefas (the
Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science).
PCS has long been arguing for these inequalities to be addressed by reintroducing a single
national pay framework for the whole civil service, its agencies and nondepartmental public
bodies (NDPBs).
The coalition government has established an Efficiency and Reform Group which will be
looking at, among other things, a more simplified pay system. PCS has submitted its
arguments on national pay to this review.
The proposed pay freeze will threaten progression in many areas and again makes civil
servants the poor relations of other areas of the economy. For many public servants,
progression arrangements are clearly contractual and have always been funded separately
from cost-of-living increases.
Also, in the private sector many companies, including BT and Nissan, which enforced pay
freezes last year excluded progression from the freeze.
For a long time civil servants have suffered because of the system whereby the amount of
money for pay has to include progression payments. This means that cost of living increases
have had to compete with progression and many on the max have suffered pay freezes to
allow progression to be paid for.
This should not be the case; it is not the case for most other areas of the economy.
Let‟s campaign for better
PCS has made clear to the government its opposition to the pay freeze and is working with
other public sector unions to oppose the attacks on our members‟ pay. It is also seeking to
influence key decision makers, such as MPs, and the media through regular briefings to
challenge the myths on civil service pay.
Members are urged to write to and meet with their local MPs to challenge these myths (you‟ll
find more details on the PCS website And there‟s more
you can do, such as ringing into radio debates, writing to your local newspapers and
emailing into discussions on pay.
Pay is just one of the many areas where members are facing attacks and PCS will be
coordinating a campaign to challenge all of the attacks on pay, jobs and pensions along with
other public sector unions.
Find out more at

„Justice under the hammer‟ campaign launched
A campaign to fight massive cuts in the justice sector has been launched by PCS.
The Justice under the Hammer campaign was launched in response to a government
announcement that almost a third of courts are facing closure.
Members have been emailing their constituency MPs via the link to
urge them to oppose the closures and to extend the consultation period which PCS feels is
The deadline is 15 September which the union feels does not give sufficient time for people
to respond.
Members are also petitioning and leafleting to raise awareness of the issue.
On 14 July the union held a drop-in briefing for MPs before a Westminster Hall debate, with
25 MPs signing a motion against the closures by the following day.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the cuts threatened to “devastate the
administration of justice in our communities and access to local justice.”
Find out more at

Cuts put economic recovery at risk
PCS members and reps are campaigning to protect the jobs of 14,000 Department for Work
and Pensions (DWP) frontline staff. The workers were taken on as fixed term appointments
last year to deal with a rise in demand caused by the economic downturn.
Despite a continuing demand for their services, current headcount limits imposed on DWP
management by the Treasury mean the workers‟ contracts may not be renewed.
So far, 1,200 PCS members have emailed their MPs online asking them to oppose the cuts,
and 77 MPs have signed an early day motion on the issue.
Our campaign also led to Kate Green MP, a member of the PCS parliamentary group,
asking a question on the effect of the plans at prime minister‟s questions in July.
As well as our concerns about the temporary workers whose jobs are at risk, we have
expressed fears about the impact on remaining Work and Pensions staff who will be faced
with an untenable workload if their colleagues‟ contracts are not extended.
We are calling on the secretary of state for work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, to
provide assurances that the contracts will be extended or made permanent before the
majority end in November.
For the latest on PCS in the DWP visit

Young workers unite against cuts
Creating an alternative to the cuts is the theme of the union‟s young workers‟ week.
Reps hope the event from 27 September to 3 October will build solidarity with other trade
unions, provide opportunities to work with local communities and complement the PCS
national campaign for public services.
Branches are encouraged to consult young members in their workplaces about possible
activities and coordinate the work through regional young members‟ networks which operate
across the UK.
Young members‟ chair Alan Warner said: “Young members in PCS are rightly worried about
the effect these cuts will have on their jobs and conditions. By participating in union activity,
we can proudly raise the banner of solidarity and confidently raise the idea that an
alternative is possible.”
The week will be used to launch the „young workers united against the cuts‟ campaign which
seeks to gain support across trade unions and communities.
All PCS members aged 27 or under should contact their young member convenor to find out
how they can get involved.
Find out more at

MP launches bill to restore union rights
The first step towards the full restoration of trade union rights is being taken through a
private members‟ bill sponsored by Labour MP John McDonnell and backed by PCS.
The chairman of the PCS parliamentary group presented his private members‟ bill – the
Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) bill, to parliament in June that would, if adopted,
improve unions‟ ability to defend their members and be the first step towards the full
restoration of trade union rights.
The bill looks to tackle the increasingly common practice by employers of using minor
technical errors in the balloting process to take unions to court to prevent them from taking
industrial action.
PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: “PCS backs John McDonnell‟s bill which would
repeal the law that outrageously allows employers to use the courts to block the democratic
will of trade unionists to take action to protect their jobs and conditions.
If parliamentary elections had to satisfy such stringent regulations, we would have no MPs
and 650 court cases pending.”
A rally and lobby of parliament is planned for 13 October and the second reading of the bill is
22 October.

Campaign for „Shrewsbury 24‟ given new energy
The campaign for justice for the „Shrewsbury 24‟ has been reinvigorated with a march and
The event in support of the campaign, which calls for justice for the 24 flying pickets who
were tried at Shrewsbury after one of the most tumultuous industrial battles of Edward
Heath‟s Tory government, took place on 3 July and was well attended by PCS activists and
other unions.
The day was organised by the Shropshire and Telford TUC, with the Shrewsbury 24
Campaign committee.
Supporters assembled in the town before a slow march towards the court where many of the
pickets were originally sentenced.
The rally was addressed by several speakers, including PCS president Janice Godrich, Mike
Abbot (Shrewsbury 24 campaign committee), Bob Crow (General Secretary RMT), and actor
Ricky Tomlinson, who was one of the jailed pickets.
The campaign for justice continues and it is hoped that a legal challenge will be brought later
this year.

Employer dismisses five union reps in two years
A campaign of victimisation in Hasting Child Support Agency Centre (CSAC) against PCS
members has seen five branch secretaries dismissed in the last two years.
The latest victim of management at the Department for Work and Pensions Sussex centre
was branch secretary Sam Buckley.
In two of the previous incidents, concerning Eddie Fleming and Winston Resalsingh, PCS is
clear the branch secretaries were dismissed for activities directly related to their roles in the
union and the latter was reinstated on appeal.
In line with our conference policy the union is currently offering Sam all possible legal help.
Members are campaigning for Sam‟s reinstatement and at the time of writing there was a
workplace leafleting and rally planned.
To find out the latest about our campaign check

PCS wins two prestigious learning awards
Helping hundreds of staff learn online and increasing support to reps has earned PCS
members awards.
Reps were recognised for directing hundreds of staff to learndirect, the union movement‟s
national network of online learning centres.
For four years Hastings PCS reps have worked with learndirect, led by a team of branch
learning coordinator and union learning rep Winston Resalsingh, Joe Stevens and Chris
Team members had problems getting time off but negotiated an agreement for staff for Skills
for Life assessments and training.
Together with learndirect and unionlearn, PCS has assessed about 300 staff, half of whom
have finished training to level two.
Jan Gifford, PCS learning services officer, Northern region, and Ian Urwin, learning project
worker, also received a quality award, at the unionlearn annual conference in London, on 12
July for the role the regional office and seven workplace learning centres played in helping
union learning reps‟ development.
Jan said: “The quality award brings further recognition for the excellent support available to
reps in the region. We believe this will help us engage with the employers and prove that
PCS can provide a professional mentoring service for all their members in the civil service.”
Union calls for justice for „Liverpool 4‟
PCS is campaigning on behalf of four members who were working for Atos on a Department
of Health contract in Liverpool. ATOS Origin had the contract to provide support for the NHS
Strategic Tracing Service programme which has since been taken over by BT. The members
were told by letter that they would be transferring under TUPE to BT on 1 February 2010.
However, BT subsequently wrote to our members telling them that they refuted the TUPE
transfer and they should not report to BT.
Since then our members have been left without a job, have not been made redundant, do
not know what has happened to their pensions and are concerned about feeding their
families and paying their bills.
PCS national officer Paul Barnsley said: “This dispute is not of our members‟ making.
They are entirely at the mercy of Atos and BT. They have more than 100 years loyal service
between them, and we believe that they are being treated despicably.”
Messages of support can be sent to

Professionals and managers debate the way ahead
The Professionals and Managers‟ Association (PMA) forum, meeting in June, agreed that it
needs to concentrate on influencing our bargaining agenda. Much of the work of the PMA so
far has been about raising awareness of the network and encouraging managers and
professionals to get involved.
PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh stressed the importance of the PMA and
ensuring its links with bargaining units, and provided an update on the judicial review and the
PCS campaign against the changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.
Much discussion took place around the trend in many departments to have a decreasing
emphasis on lower grades with more and more roles becoming specialist. As a result of this
it is very difficult to redeploy specialists when job cuts are implemented.
An update was provided on the work with Eurocadres, the professional and management
arm of the ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation), to which PCS has now affiliated.
PCS president Janice Godrich and Ian Albert, PMA and national executive committee
member, chaired the meeting.
PCS members graded SEO and above, specialists or professionals can register at

Miners‟ gala welcomes union support
There is an alternative to public sector cuts, PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh
told tens of thousands of trade unionists and their families at the 126th Durham Miners Gala
in July.
Pointing to the tax justice campaign and the billions lost through tax evasion and tax
avoidance by the super rich, Chris laid out the PCS strategy for defeating the cuts.
He won the biggest cheer of the day when he called for the TUC to organise a
demonstration against the cuts involving all public sector unions.
Welcoming the formation of the Northern Public Services Alliance by 12 unions to campaign
against cuts, Chris called for similar initiatives across the UK.
He welcomed Labour‟s support for the PCS campaign against attacks on members‟
redundancy rights, but stressed that public sector unions must work together to defend
members and their communities against the government‟s proposals.
PCS members distributed thousands of tax justice leaflets and obtained hundreds of
signatures for a petition against job cuts at the Identity and Passport Service office in
This year saw the largest number ever of northern region PCS members at the gala, while
members travelled from Cumbria, the Midlands, the north west, Yorkshire and Humberside
and Scotland.

Live and learn day a big success
Further education, career development, environmental concerns and union issues were
among areas of interest to Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and Marine Management
Organisation (MMO) staff at a Live and Learning Day held in Newcastle in June.
PCS learning reps and the forum group Newcastle Environmental Action Team (NEAT)
organised the day to help bring together local RPA and MMO business areas.
Management encouraged all staff to attend.
NEAT highlighted sustainability and environmental issues faced on site and national PCS
green campaigns. Staff were handed a questionnaire about their opinions on environmental
issues, including questions on starting a branch voluntary work scheme.
Local higher and further education establishments provided introductory courses, all of which
were filled, on basic Italian, Spanish, and Greek, as well as drawing, nail art and genealogy.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds gave video and slide show presentations and
reported their greatest membership application take-up ever at a corporate event.
If you would like materials for a green day in your workplace, contact

PCS has final say at TUC
TUC lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) conference by successfully moving the last
motion despite opposition to it.
Our motion, moved by PCS Proud secretary Jan Baxter and seconded by Proud‟s trans
officer Joanna Rowland-Stuart, called on the TUC to fully document all conference debates
in the annual report to TUC LGBT conference so delegates can question, challenge and
debate the previous 12 months‟ activity.
PCS delegates also spoke in debates about protecting equalities legislation, tackling LGBT
harassment, being „out‟ at work and school, and sex work and human rights.
After Jeff Grist, chair of PCS Proud, questioned why PCS had been left out of meetings with
ministers on a joint union campaign for LGBT equality in education, PCS was invited to join
the campaign.
In response to Lynne Featherstone MP‟s speech about the government‟s LGBT equality
agenda, delegates intensely argued for full rights and against exemptions and discrimination.
Conference overwhelmingly voted in favour of forwarding an emergency motion to the main
TUC conference this month highlighting future threats to LGBT people and organisations
caused by public funding cuts and the absence of full LGBT rights.
PCS members „out and proud‟
PCS members were out in force again this year at the UK‟s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual
and trans (LGBT) event, Pride London 2010 on 3 July. They also supported Prides in
Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff, and elsewhere across the UK.
In Trafalgar Square, volunteers on Proud‟s stall promoted PCS‟s campaigns on the civil
service compensation scheme and tax justice, and against the government‟s savage cuts to
public services, jobs and the welfare system.
Many visitors were shocked at the scale of the cuts and the impact that they will have on
their lives and futures, while younger visitors were particularly horrified at the heavy price
they will pay for an economic crisis they did not cause.
Volunteers also highlighted to festival goers the importance of reporting all hate crimes and
gave out stickers and advice to promote this.
PCS LGBT equalities officer Carl Banks said: “It was a very successful day. Again our LGBT
members played a key role in explaining to the public what impact this government‟s
spending cuts and attacks on the services members provide will have on them, while
simultaneously raising the profile of LGBT issues and PCS.”
For more on our work with LGBT members visit

Protect BP-affected pension funds
As engineers began testing a new cap on the Deepwater oil well in the Gulf of Mexico during
the summer, it was hoped that this would finally contain the gushing oil from the rig which
exploded in April, killing 11 workers.
Alongside the environmental and economic disaster in the gulf and its damaged shoreline –
estimated to be at least $3.5 billion (£2.33bn) and rising – are concerns about the impact on
UK pension funds.
Many funds invest in BP, which has a track record of neglecting environmental and safety
An explosion at the Texas City oil refinery in 2005 cost it $137million in fines alone.
The ethical investment charity FairPensions, to which PCS is affiliated, is asking people to
write to their MPs asking them to support a parliamentary early day motion calling on the
government to ensure pension funds report on environmental and social risks.
FairPensions is also urging the public to contact the pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith
to press him to tighten up standards for pension funds.
Visit to take action

In brief
Staying in touch is e-asy
As well as keeping up to date with all the latest news in PCS View, we now offer a number of
other ways to stay in touch. You can follow PCS on Twitter, and receive regular updates and
up to the minute news on our campaigns, at
The union also has a lively page on Facebook where you can share news with other PCS
members. To find out more and join visit
If you prefer to receive your news by text and email, sign up for our flashtext and e-
newsletter service at
Out and proud
PCS‟s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) members are invited to attend a residential
seminar, 19 to 21 November, in Birmingham.
The seminar is open to all LGBT members but preference will be given to first time
To request an application form contact our equality department on 020 7801 2683 or
download it from

Cuts „exceed Thatcher years‟ reps told
“The government‟s proposed cuts exceed even those seen during the Thatcher years,”
assistant general secretary Chris Baugh told the annual meeting of our North West regional
committee in June. “We face a huge battle to defend the social advances we have enjoyed
in the post-war years.”
Delegates representing 22 branches re-elected Lavinia O‟Connor as chair of the committee.
Peter Middleman, regional secretary, said: “We debated a number of important industrial
issues which were dominated by the anticipated Tory-Lib Dem attack on public services.”

Focus on you
PCS members work in hundreds of different government departments, agencies and private
sector companies but we often struggle with the same issues. Each month we ask a different
group of members
What‟s it like working at …Government Office Network?

What are the issues facing members in the Government Office
Network (GON)?
Members face the real threat of redundancy. Without any proper consultation, the
Communities and Local Government secretary Eric Pickles has announced that he intends
to close the Government Office Network.
This will mean massive cuts across all government departments, while redeployment
opportunities will be few and far between. The recent announcement that the government
intends to amend legislation following PCS‟s successful legal challenge on redundancy pay
is another blow, as payments will be slashed for those who leave.
Lack of information on closure timescales and the process for dealing with surplus staff, and
uncertainty about what, if any, work will continue, make it very hard for members to plan for
the future. They have been left demoralised.

What are the top three priorities for members over the next few
Members want to see the union work hard for assurances that no one will be made
compulsorily redundant.
With proposals to repatriate staff to their parent department, assurances that mobile grades
will not be forced to relocate to London or risk losing their jobs will also be at the top of the
Practical help for members who want to look for alternative employment in the public or
private sector is an area where management and the union can work together.
Can you tell us about any recent successes and therefore why GON
should be kept?
It is doubtful if departments could manage from London as effectively without the depth of
knowledge that Government Offices (GOs) have. Government Offices provide a link between
government and localities during the floods that affected England in 2007 and 2009. Prior to
GOs taking on this role, the lack of coordination during the foot and mouth outbreak was
heavily criticised.
GOs have facilitated many ministerial visits by suggesting events and providing briefing and
accompanying officers. They have also arranged cabinet meetings outside of London, most
recently in Bradford. Government Offices ensure that ministers can engage with MPs and
their constituents on specific local issues.

Are there any practical ways in which readers can support GON
Readers, their families and friends can contact their MPs highlighting the work that
Government Offices do and asking them to lobby to retain as many of the network‟s
functions as possible and to sign Early Day Motion 362.
We hope retaining functions in the regions, if not specifically in GON, will go some way
towards safeguarding jobs. There is an e-letter on the PCS website
which members can use as a template to write to their MP.

What is the best thing about working for the GON?
Members in Government Offices get the opportunity to see and understand policies from a
range of departments, so there is lots of variety. As the things we‟re involved in are often
local to us, we can see a real impact on the ground.
We work with many external partners who value our knowledge, expertise and skills, and it‟s
good to see positive results from bringing different people together. And of course,
colleagues in the GON are great to work with and have loads of expertise and enthusiasm.

What does the GON do?
Government Offices enable communities to have one joined-up conversation with central
government, rather than 13 separate ones. This conversation is two-way, helping
communities understand government policy, and providing an important channel for them to
influence and question Whitehall.
This ensures that departments‟ aspirations for delivery are realistic, reflect local
circumstances and do not duplicate or conflict with other departmental activity.
We see a role for GOs in integrating departmental policies for delivery and influence at a
local level and playing a significant part in enhancing the relationship between Whitehall
departments and local authorities, the voluntary and community sector, local business, faith
groups and other stakeholders.

Grassroots HERO
Samantha La Roche got involved in the union to make change happen
Name: Samantha La Roche
Age: 43
Occupation: Benefits delivery officer
Workplace: DWP
Union responsibilities include: Union rep, equalities officer and union learning rep

What persuaded you to get involved in the union?
I have only worked at DWP for a couple of years and thought the level of change and
restrictive procedures being introduced since I began were alarming. The best way of
changing something you don‟t like is to get involved, so that‟s what I did.

What benefits have you found from getting involved?
Belonging to a network of like-minded people has built my confidence. It‟s great to be part of
something that works towards a common goal and uplifting to belong to a large successful
group pulling together in strength for all of us instead of an individual struggling against a
relentless and destructive tide of change.

How do you balance union work with your life outside PCS?
There‟s no conflict so there‟s no real impact. My interests have always been centred on
issues of basic justice; it‟s just an extension of that taken into the workplace.
Which person has had the greatest influence on you?
I suppose it was my dad. He always encouraged a healthy enquiring scepticism mixed with a
good dollop of humour; I‟d like to think that has rubbed off a little.

What has surprised you about the union?
Until I went to conference, I had no idea of the real unity, cohesion and willingness to
engage on issues across all areas of life.

Are you happy with the support you‟ve had? What have you found
most useful?
Support comes in many ways – from training and learning as you go, for example. The most
useful for me though is discussing problems and issues with colleagues and getting
feedback based on their experiences.

If you were general secretary for a day what would you do?
I would ask all cabinet ministers to work for three months in benefits delivery at band B at the
closest site to their constituency before implementing any changes to the system. They
would be on the appropriate salary too of course and have no access to any other finances
whilst doing it.

What would your advice be to other members who may be thinking
of becoming active in the union?
It‟s the practical and positive solution to being part of the future where you work. It‟s about
being part of controlling where we steer our jobs, the culture of our workplace and how we
support our members in the present and the future – an opportunity to opt into making
decisions that affect us all.
Could you make a difference where you work? Speak to your PCS rep about getting more
involved in our union.

Redundancy: know know your rights
With the government threatening wide-scale cuts to our public and civil services, it is
more important than ever to know your rights
The government is threatening to balance the budget in the next five years by cutting Britain
out of the worst economic slump since the thirties.
We are campaigning to protect members‟ jobs and will do everything we can to ensure
redundancies are avoided – particularly if compulsory redundancies are declared – keep
employees informed of the situation and, as a last resort, ballot members on industrial
action, should this prove necessary to fight the cuts.
However, redundancy announcements are underway and 20 October looms. This is when
the chancellor will set out in the comprehensive spending review just how he intends to slash
25 to 40% off departmental budgets in the civil service.
You may be quite rightly worried about how this affects you, and if it does, what the
processes involve and what your options and entitlements are.

Consultation, consultation, consultation
After announcing redundancies, your employer is legally bound to carry out a consultation
period, regardless of the number of redundancies proposed and whether they are voluntary
or not. The amount of time may differ from department to department depending on the
collective agreement negotiated.
It is unlawful for your employer to give notice of redundancy before the consultation process
has been completed.
During the consultation period your employer is legally required to:
     • Invite you in writing to a meeting, at which you are entitled to bring your union rep
     • Before the meeting, provide you with the selection criterion and their mark (if you
         have been selected using a selection criterion –see below) so that you have the
         opportunity to challenge it
     • Hold a meeting and confirm any decision in writing
     • Provide a right of appeal against dismissal.

Selection criteria
Where there is a choice between employees, your employer must follow objective and as
wide a range of selection criteria as possible. Unfair selection criteria, or valid criteria applied
unfairly, will be regarded as an unfair dismissal.
The criteria must not discriminate on grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation,
religion, belief, age, trade union membership or activities, or part-time or fixed-term
(temporary) employment.
Fair selection criteria may include:
     • Length of service
     • Sickness absence
     • Disciplinary record
     • Skills, competencies and qualifications
     • Work experience
    • Performance.
Employers may use a points-based system which scores each employee against the
relevant criteria.
Temporary workers on fixed-term contracts are protected from unfair selection and have to
be treated in the same way as permanent employees. After two years‟ service they are
entitled to redundancy payments if they are dismissed before the end of their contract.
However, if they reach the end of their contract and the contract was linked to a project that
has ended then their dismissal would be fair.
Temporary employees selected may have grounds for sex discrimination, because
proportionately there tend to be more women in temporary posts than men and women
employees are more adversely affected than men.

Choosing early retirement
This is one of the most commonly offered alternatives to redundancy, but whether it is the
best option for you is something to consider seriously.
Early retirement is not a form of redundancy; it is an alternative to redundancy. So, if you
choose it, you will have no redundancy rights and you will not receive a redundancy
It is very important that you consider the financial implications and plan carefully if you
choose this option as you will have contributed for fewer years so your pension will be
smaller. Remember that voluntary redundancies are treated as dismissals but voluntary
retirement is seen as a termination of contract by mutual consent.

Deciding on alternative work
Your employer should consider offering suitable alternative work, if it is available, which is
the same as, or not substantially different from, your previous work. Although this is not a
legal requirement, failure to do so is likely to make a redundancy dismissal unfair.
If you refuse to accept an offer of alternative suitable work you may lose their entitlement to
redundancy pay, unless the offer was unsuitable, there are specific personal circumstances,
or the new job differs from the previous one. If you have any concerns speak to your PCS
rep as early as possible.
Employees under redundancy notice are allowed two days‟ paid time off to look for
alternative employment if they have worked for their employer for at least two years. This
includes time to seek work, arrange training and attend job interviews.

Compromise agreements
You may be asked to sign a compromise agreement. Once signed, it prevents you from
taking further action against your employer should your employer have failed to comply with
the law in making redundancies. If you are asked to do
this you should immediately contact PCS for advice.

If you are made redundant
If you find yourself in a redundancy situation – or indeed are at risk of losing your job –
request access to the Jobcentre Plus CSVacs, an online system which advertises vacancies
across departments and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs). While vacancies are on
CSVacs they cannot be accessed by civil servants who are not at risk or by external
candidates. You should try to monitor this daily. If you hear of jobs that ought to have been
on the system contact your PCS representative.
Also seek assistance in preparing for a career move, CV writing and interview preparation
and refresher skills training. And remember, if you find yourself threatened with redundancy,
speak to your local rep as soon as possible for advice and support.

What happens now?
The process your employer has to go through to make redundancies is set down in law and
is usually as follows:
    • Redundancies announced
    • Volunteers invited
    • Collective and individual consultation
    • A pool for selection identified
    • Use of objective selection criteria
    • Advance notice of individual consultation meeting
    • Permitting a colleague/union representative to be present at consultation meetings
    • Opportunity to appeal
    • Allowing seeking of suitable alternative employment
    • Statutory or other redundancy payment
    • Relocation expenses
    • Giving time off for redundant employees to obtain training or alternative work.
For more on our campaign to protect jobs and services visit

Act now: defend our jobs and services
The launch of a major PCS campaign this autumn will demand that the government
stops its attacks on public services and finds a better way to deal with the country‟s
Huge cuts in public spending over the next few months will destroy our jobs, working
conditions and public services. PCS members are being urged to support a new campaign to
resist these attacks.
The government has already announced £6.25 billion of cuts, including £500 million in non-
departmental public bodies; a recruitment freeze in the civil service; a moratorium on IT
contracts and a freeze on consultants, except where they are authorised by a minister.
Further draconian measures are expected on 20 October when the government announces
its spending review.
Low paid public sector workers are also facing attacks on their pensions, despite the fact
that, excluding the very highest earners, the average civil service pension is just £4,200 a
The proposed £11 billion cuts to welfare, a freeze on child benefit and reduced national
insurance contributions from employers to fund tax breaks to big business will hit the poorest
members of society the hardest.
Our view is that people on low incomes did not cause the current economic crisis – that was
down to the decision to bail out the banks – and should not be made to pay for it.
There is another way
This autumn we are launching a national, co-ordinated campaign to strongly challenge the
government‟s approach. Defending our jobs, pay, pensions and conditions against these
attacks remains our number one priority.
We believe cuts are unnecessary – they will actually plunge the country further into
recession – and that there are better, fairer ways to deal with Britain‟s current economic
Our first proposal is „tax justice‟. Each year, more than £120 billion of tax goes uncollected,
evaded or avoided by large companies and wealthy individuals. By just collecting the tax that
is rightfully ours we could avoid public service cuts. A „Robin Hood tax‟ on financial
speculation could also raise an additional $400 billion globally.
As well as bringing in a fairer tax system, we believe the government should be creating jobs
to boost tax revenue, not cutting them.
Cuts will damage the economy. By cutting public sector jobs, unemployment will increase –
increasing the costs to the government – and lower consumer spending will mean fewer
transactions and less tax revenue through VAT. It will also result in the private sector cutting
back because there is less demand.
We are also calling for a drive to cut waste and government spending on civil service
consultants – both of which cost us millions of pounds each year.

Our priorities
Our national executive has agreed a campaign to persuade the government to rethink its
proposals and focus on finding alternatives to public sector cuts.
The campaign priorities are: encouraging local branches to build links with other unions,
community groups and welfare organisations; organising members‟ meetings across the
country to seek views and keep people informed and a week of action to co-incide with the
spending review on 20 October.
All of this underpins our ongoing talks with ministers to try to find a negotiated alternative to
cuts. If the government refuses to rethink its proposals we will not rule out a ballot of PCS
members for national industrial action.
Our general secretary Mark Serwotka is urging every PCS member to get involved in the
campaign: “This is going to be the fight of our lives. It is vital we all do everything we can to
persuade the government to think again.”

We can make a difference
Our top priorities
This autumn we will be working harder than ever to:
   • Present the government with a clear, viable alternative to public spending cuts
   • Build links with local union branches and campaigning and community groups to
       ensure we highlight the growing backlash against attacks on our jobs and public
   • Secure support for our campaign at this month‟s Trades Union Congress to ensure
       we build the maximum solidarity across the union movement
   • Continue talks with the government about alternatives to cuts.
Show your support
   • To make a difference, we need every PCS member to get involved and support the
       campaign. There are lots of ways you can do this:
   •  Lobby your MP to campaign against the cuts and support early day motion 301.
      Read our „how to...‟ guide at and let us know their response
   • Contact your local rep about events in your region – including local members‟
      meetings – and find out how to get involved
   • Keep up to date with information on the proposed cuts on our website
   • Recruit non-PCS colleagues into the union – there‟s never been a more important
      time to join us.
For more on the campaign visit

The perils of privatisation
With the government threatening to sell off our jobs and privatise our services, PCS is
stepping up the campaign to protect the public sector from private profit
With the government threatening to sell off our jobs and privatise our services, PCS is
stepping up the campaign to protect the public sector from private profit
Over the next five years the government believes more than half a million jobs – at least
2,000 a week – will be axed in the public sector as a result of spending cuts. This means
privatisation and outsourcing are a fast growing threat to our jobs and public services.
Private companies are already lining up to take on this work, and the Treasury‟s spending
review framework has asked departments to “consider the role of privatisation and
contracting out.” This relentless drive to privatise our public services stretches right across
the sector, including the postal service where the government is again seeking “to ensure an
injection of private capital.”
Although the economic downturn has meant that bank funding for private finance initiative
(PFI) projects has dried up, the government is funnelling public money to state-owned
banks, which then loan finance to PFI consortia. The consortia then claim inflated returns
from government. The journalist and anti-privatisation activist George Monbiot summed up
the situation when he said: “The private finance initiative no longer requires much private
finance or initiative.”

Campaigning against the cuts
PCS opposes all privatisation and outsourcing and campaigns to keep members and
services within the public sector. In 2008-09, the union mounted a successful campaign to
stop the outsourcing of 220 security staff at 18 Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sites that still
retained in-house provision. We argued it was too much of a risk to place the security of
buildings that require round the clock, all year guarding because of the sensitive nature of
the work carried out within them, into the hands of the private sector. HMRC suspended the
tendering process.
We have also managed to reverse a proposal to outsource the IT facilities of the Royal
Parks Agency. “Our members were very pleased when we were able to persuade
management that outsourcing our IT section would be inefficient and costly,” said PCS rep
Nigel Green, branch secretary at Royal Parks. “The outsourcing agreement we reached with
the Cabinet Office came in handy in the negotiations when we explained to management the
various procedures they should go through before outsourcing staff.”
The battles continue. For example, the Land Registry is now looking to outsource all its
regional file stores which securely house vital deeds and other data under the control of civil
servants. If outsourced, information that is vital to the property market and ultimately the
economy would be under the control of a private company. The security of these documents
would be secondary to company profit. PCS is mounting an extensive campaign to publicise
and defeat this proposal.
Local campaigns are therefore essential to fight outsourcing, but we are also offering an
alternative. All the mainstream political parties have become wedded to a pro-private
approach to public services and claim there is no alternative. We are actively challenging
this and putting forward a more compelling public sector agenda based on social and
economic justice, not private profit.

Inspiring our reps
In response to earlier government attacks on public services PCS organised a series of anti-
privatisation forums around the UK to inspire activists and reps for the campaigns ahead.
One of the aims of the forums was to trace the origins of the privatisation model and to equip
our reps and activists with arguments to counter it, both locally and nationally. To do this we
examined how that model was applied in the UK, looking particularly at the performance
failures and financial scandals of the PFI.
A presentation by PCS policy and research officers Enrico Tortolano and John Medhurst
was a key focus of the forums. They explained how the business and corporate elite applied
free-market programmes across Chile, Argentina, the UK, and post-Soviet Central and
Eastern Europe. This led inevitably to a drastic decline in the quality of public services. The
presentation concludes with some suggestions for recreating a vibrant pro-public sector
The response from members was enthusiastic. Rod Chambers, PCS health and safety rep
for the Shared Services Centre, Newport, said that he found the presentations “very
powerful”; they had inspired him to develop his anti-privatisation work. Meanwhile, Darren
Williams, PCS Wales research and campaigns officer, said he hoped to distribute the
presentations to all branches for campaigning use.
PCS vice president John McInally, who introduced many of the regional forums, said of the
threat of increased privatisation, “Privatisation, deregulation and labour market flexibility are
the tools to facilitate a massive transfer of public wealth to private hands, not to mention
private debts to the public purse – in essence a vast programme of legalised theft.”

A new era
The coalition government and Labour in opposition are claiming that ring fencing the NHS
will safeguard it against any cuts. Even if this is true (which is doubtful as the need to pay
back PFI debt means that cuts will emerge within the mythical ring fence), to agree to this
agenda would legitimise cuts in all other vital services. That‟s why PCS is committed to
campaigning against all cuts.
But it‟s not just about public expenditure. As well as explaining the performance failures of
the privatisation model, PCS will also restate the case for public ownership of all the major
industries, including the banks and public utilities, and for promoting new economic and
social models as suggested in motions to this year‟s PCS conference, which were passed at
our annual conference this year.
As we progress this new agenda, we will continue to be resolute in its defence of members‟
interests and will oppose all models of privatisation and spending cuts. We will continue to
build local and national alliances with other unions to promote a first-class public sector
based on the principles of social and economic justice.
For more on our anti-privatisation campaign visit

Your point of view
Letters to the editor
The letters page is for members to exchange views. Please note that PCS View receives
many more letters than it is able to publish. Publication of any letter does not imply support
for the views of individual members, either by the union or the editor. Letters should be
under 250 words and may be edited for length or clarity.
Send your letters to: The editor, PCS View, PCS, 160 Falcon Road, London SW11 2LN. Or
email to

Our star letter wins Marks and Spencer vouchers worth £25 sponsored by Redactive

Star letter - Overpaid and under-worked? Not likely
The media continually cry that our terms and conditions are „gold-plated‟, in reference to our
pension provision, flexitime and annual leave. As we know, this is far from a true picture.
Pension rights differ dependent on when you joined the civil service. Of course, rank-and-file
administration staff are lumped together by the media with senior civil servants, earning up
to 10 times as much as we do.
Those in the media and public, who call for massive job cuts, will, when they get their jobs
cull, moan because they can‟t get through when they ring Jobcentre Plus or the local tax
office has been closed down.
Ian Ashworth, By email

Under pressure
The latest news about the civil service compensation scheme has angered me as I do not
think ministers fully understand the pressures we are under and the enormous amount of
change we have had over the last few years.
If plans had been put in place years ago and we had stopped external recruitment, including
the recruitment of highly-paid consultants, we would not be in this mess. I am embracing
change and look forward to working within a reformed and improved service creating a
modern justice system and improving service for our customers, but will I have a job?
Also, why is the civil service being criticised when we have not caused the financial deficit?
I was always proud to be a civil servant, the only perks for not being paid highly were „a job
for life‟, generous annual leave and decent pension. They have tried to change the pension
rights, how long before they look at reducing our entitlement to annual leave?
The private sector enjoys perks such as high salaries, fat bonuses, lavish parties and free
lunches. While this is not the case for all companies it certainly is for a lot.
I do understand that we need to look for ways to reduce the deficit but this is now personal.
The most obvious way to look at reducing resources is to cut the bureaucracy within the
The civil service employs genuine, hardworking, Under pressure intellectual and
inspirational people with skills that you would not be able to find outside and this is how we
are valued. There are no guarantees anymore for stability instead all we get is more
„updates‟ to read on how well-off we have been.
There will be huge support I am sure for a national strike as this affects so many people.
Ali Dunn

Protecting the vulnerable
Under the headline of „Protecting the vulnerable‟ the June 2010 issue of View reported on
the PCS and Unite Against Fascism counter-demonstration against a BNP protest outside
the UK Border Agency office in Croydon. In the piece, Mark Serwotka is quoted as saying:
“It is shameful that the British National Party has been allowed to come here and
demonstrate its message of hate against some of the most vulnerable people in the country
who have come here to seek sanctuary. This puts our members and the service users at
I can see at least three major objections to this statement: one is the implication that the
state should clamp down on the BNP‟s freedom to protest, which would in effect be a further
attack upon the right to protest; a second is the portrayal of both immigrants and civil
servants as potential, passive victims of that protest; and thirdly, that the PCS leadership
sees the main problem for immigrants as coming from the BNP and not the UK‟s immigration
controls and the actions of the Border Agency.
The union really needs to question this self-serving, far-right obsession.
Paul Thomas

United consumer front
Now all six million public sector workers are united by the attack on pay and pensions from
this government of the wealthy, determined to make us pay for the greed and stupidity of the
There are two things that they fear – civil disorder, which may come of its own accord as
during the Thatcher years – and trouble for their backers, big business.
Six million consumers wield a huge amount of influence in a consumer society. Time we
fought back by organising public sector boycotts of some of the big companies.
This government will not listen to us, ministers couldn‟t care less about the public sector, but
if a few mega-corporations which bankroll them get hurt, they‟ll sit up and take notice.
John Boyson

Pensions under attack
It is clear from Nick Clegg‟s recent reference to „gold-plated pensions‟ for the public sector
that civil servants are in the line of fire for this coalition government, as they see us as a
vulnerable target without a great deal of public sympathy.
It is disappointing to see a party like the Liberal Democrats, with a fine political heritage,
subsume themselves in the Conservative Party.
Any chance of overhauling the tax system, and closing the loopholes that lose this country
millions of pounds each year, will be lost, and savage cuts will become prevalent.
Everyone in the PCS, and in other public sector unions, must stand firm in the face of this
gathering attack.
Richard Shannon

PCS challenge
I would like to thank Francis Maude for letting us know where we all stand.
Every unpopular decision made by the coalition government has been blamed on the
previous administration. The decision to enforce a new compensation scheme is a different
matter. This, apparently, is not the fault of the Labour government for attempting to introduce
an unfair and illegal system; it is, rather, the fault of PCS for challenging it in court.
Personally, I‟m proud to be part of PCS if the Con-Dems think we are the enemy.
Jason Jawando

Our future
Have public sector workers become the new coal miners?
In the 1980s we witnessed the despicable scenes of miners, on legitimate picket duty, being
beaten and arrested by the police. After subsequently being starved back to work the
majority of miners were laid off and the pits closed. Is this to be the fate of today‟s public
sector workers?
We seem to be in the firing line of yet another Conservative government largely made up of
the privileged few who are determined to wreck lives, families and communities. I also have
no doubt that in their anti-public service agenda there is the double bonus for them of
bashing the public sector unions.
Now is the time for all of us to stand by our union executive and fight to the bitter end.
Martin Elmes

Debate of the month
A selection of responses to last month‟s debate: Is marriage still relevant?
66% said yes 34% said no (Source:

Yes, it‟s still relevant
I believe marriage is still relevant in our society, especially as evidence shows that children
do better in a secure environment, such as marriage.
Evidence even shows that both men and women live longer in a marriage than those living
the single life. Therefore evidence shows that marriage is a good thing, although getting
married is so expensive it is easier not to marry.
The fact is it is easier to get a divorce than to work through problems within a marriage which
people need to do.
Cliff Johnrose

It is what it is
It is up to individuals if they want to marry and stay married.
In recent times the old pressures to get married and stay married have been removed, yet
people still get married, so it is viewed as a good thing to do. We now have civil partnerships
and members of the same gender opt to make a covenant to each other. So the idea of what
constitutes a couple has changed. Yet, the fact remains that the ideal way to declare to the
world as a couple is in a contract such as getting married.
The idea that it is a capitalist con is far from the truth as people from all backgrounds
throughout history have taken this step be it for love or religious reasons.
Robert Jack
100% proof
Yes, 100%. It‟s a commitment of love under God between a man and woman who love each
other and want to express that love by forming a union between them a special bond that
says “Till death do us part”.
Simon Collis

What‟s God got to do with it?
Marriage between two people, such as a contract or legal joining, was a feature of human
life long before God ever got dragged into the equation.
Some of you may have seen a certain advert on the telly promoting introductions for men
and women to meet people with the same values and interests as themselves - which often
lead to marriage. So no, marriage isn‟t outdated as a concept. And nor is it wrong or
unreasonable to expect people to stay together for life. But let‟s keep God out of this.
Dan Tanzey

Scared of the alternative
I firmly believe there are many people remaining in loveless marriages because the
alternative of living, and managing financially, alone is too scary a prospect for them.
Hopefully the next generation won‟t find so much pressure to get married as mine did, but
with government incentives to married couples I fear that may not be the case.
Lorna Garrick

An anachronism
People responding to this survey seem to think that marriage is a commitment made
between two people who love each other to live together and be faithful. It is not.
Marriage is a legal contract created by a patriarchal, capitalist society. Inherent in marriage
is the lower status and repression of women.
If two people, of any gender, wish to commit themselves to each other in front of their friends
and their God, if the latter is important to them, and live together in faithfulness and with
shared ideals and support – that is great. But the law, the church and the state have no
place in personal relationships.
Marriage is a medieval anachronism and should be abolished.
Caroline Watson

Outdated repressive institution
Given that marriage as an institution has a far longer history as a bargaining tool for the
wealthy, or institution specifically designed for the suppression of women, it is a very positive
upturn that within the last half century marriage has become synonymous with love.
It would have been more positive still if people had learned to love independently and bring
two distinct personalities to a relationship, without jealousy, possessiveness and all the other
things we are now encouraged to think demonstrate our affections when we attempt to
merge in to one compromise ridden unit.

Should still matter
I personally think marriage should be encouraged, and the sanctity of it respected. It is
sacred and should be treated as such.
Rob P
Me and my job
Claire Dewis is a project coordinator at the Coventry-based Qualifications and Curriculum
Development Agency (QCDA), which develops the national curriculum, reviews
qualifications and delivers assessments. The QCDA has recently been earmarked for

Claire, who has been working at the QCDA for just over two years, first heard that the
agency was moving from London to Coventry when she read it in a newspaper article. “I was
excited they were moving here as they‟re a big organisation.”
Her previous jobs demonstrate her commitment to education – she has been an NVQ
coordinator and trainer for a charity and has worked in the education directorate of the local
“I was attracted to the QCDA because I felt it was a chance to make a difference to the
education of our children. I have always enjoyed working for large organisations. I believed it
would be a long-term job that I could develop,” she says.
Interesting and varied
Despite being an office-based job, Claire‟s day is anything but routine and she often has to
deal with unexpected jobs. Her main focus, however, is to deal with schools and other
education providers applying for exemption from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
The EYFS outlines the structure of learning that schools and others providing early years
education need to follow from a child‟s birth up to the age of five. Some schools can be
exempted if, for example, their principles conflict with aspects of the EYFS.
She also works on the delivery of the diploma in secondary schools, which involves dealing
with finance for the project and updating project plans.
Discretion is crucial
The job requires a broad range of skills as Claire explains: “Apart from time management
and general office skills, you need tact and discretion to do this job. That‟s because the work
I do is confidential. If a school submits an application to be exempted, you can‟t reveal that
information to others, for example, if there‟s press interest in a particular case.”
“You also need good communication skills because you can be speaking to anyone from
teachers, head teachers and representatives from subject associations to local authority
officials and people from the department of education.”

My day
Claire Dewis, project coordinator, QCDA, Coventry
I normally start work at 8.30am. I have to do 36 hours a week but we can work flexibly. My
days are quite varied. But generally, when I arrive in the morning I usually check emails and
the calendar. If there are meetings, I make sure that the rooms are set up properly.
On a day when I‟m dealing with exemptions, I contact any applicants to obtain any missing
information. I file the information electronically and as hard copy. All the paperwork then
goes to the early years adviser who will assess the application.
I might also be working on the budget for the diploma or for the EYFS.
Sometimes things come in that need to be done urgently, so I have to fit in my other tasks
around that.
I‟ll also be involved in PCS surgery sessions once or twice a week as I‟m a PCS branch
QCDA closure plans
The coalition government has announced the closure of the QCDA, affecting some 500 jobs
in Coventry. PCS is opposed to the closure, not only because it will affect jobs, but also
because of its potentially devastating impact on education. The QCDA is a neutral
organisation with an advisory, “gate-keeping” role, unlike organisations with a commercial
interest. Without a co-ordinated approach it could be difficult for educational institutions or
employers to be sure about the value of the qualifications learners or potential employees
present them with. It also means that the money spent on relocating the QCDA from London
to Coventry, which PCS estimates could be well over £44 million, will have been wasted.

Employment Doctor
Our reps handle thousands of work problems each year on behalf of PCS members.
Here are just a few of the issues that have cropped up
Q1. I have been told I may be made redundant. What are my rights?
A1. It can be very difficult to find out you may lose your job however most people do have
legal protection. This includes the right to:
    • Be told about the plans and consulted in advance in order to discuss alternatives
    • Receive written reasons for the redundancy
    • Be selected according to an objectively fair process (if more than one person is
         affected by the change) and to know the basis of the selection system
    • Try out an alternative offer of suitable work for four weeks
    • Take reasonable time off, with pay, to look for alternative work or training.
In addition, if you have more than two years‟ service you are entitled to a redundancy
payment. The amount will depend on your length of service and grade.
For more on your redundancy rights see the article on pages 14 and 15. It is also important
to get in touch with your union rep immediately to discuss your options.
Q2. My employer has offered me an alternative to redundancy, which will involve doing a
completely different job. What is my position?
A2. Offering suitable alternative work is one way employers can avoid redundancies.
You should bear in mind that if you refuse to try suitable alternative employment, on a trial
basis, it may prejudice any entitlement to a redundancy payment.
What constitutes „suitable employment‟ is a complex issue that depends in part on your
grade and the nature of the job you are employed to do. Your PCS rep can help explain this
in more detail.
The law says you are entitled to a four-week trial period in the job, during which time you
retain your redundancy rights. At the end of the trial period, or any agreed extension, you
may choose to remain or claim your redundancy payment entitlement.
Q3. I seem to be working way beyond my contracted hours. What are my rights?
A3. With some exceptions, you should not have to work more than 48 hours on average
each week.
There are rules about what counts as working time and some work-related activities do not
count towards the 48 hours. However, the dividing line between what counts and what does
not is not always clear.
While it is possible to opt-out of the working time regulations, PCS strongly advises against
If you are concerned about the number of hours you are putting in, it is a good idea to
contact your PCS rep for further advice.
The information contained on this page is not intended as legal advice on individual cases. If
you have a query about your employment rights please contact your PCS rep. The
employment doctor cannot answer individual queries.
With thanks to Thompsons Solicitors and the PCS legal department.

Just the ticket
From yellow lines to red routes and all things in between: we look at 50 years of
police traffic wardens
“When I joined the service in 1989, there were 1,800 police traffic wardens in London; now
there are only 263 left,” explains Martin Mackinnon, a traffic warden manager and PCS traffic
warden assistant group secretary.
As the 50th anniversary of traffic wardens approaches this month, Martin and other PCS
members have been looking back over the years at downsizing, their changing role and
some of the main workplace challenges and improvements.
“The biggest change of all took place when the Road Traffic Act 1991 was introduced. This
gave local authorities the power to enforce their own on-street parking when parking
regulations were decriminalised,” says Martin.
“Eventually all London councils took on the responsibility of enforcing their own regulations.
That‟s when they introduced parking attendants, who were either employed by contractors or
by the council.”
This shift of responsibility led to considerable reductions in the service; London is now the
only location in the UK that still employs police traffic wardens. It also meant that police
traffic wardens no longer enforced yellow line or on-street parking rules, such as resident
bays and parking meters. Instead, they looked after „red routes‟, which were controlled by
the police; today they continue to enforce them on behalf of Transport for London, the body
responsible for the capital‟s transport system, which took over control of red routes some six
years ago.
Police traffic wardens, who remain employees of the commissioner of the Metropolitan
Police District, were also given powers to issue fixed penalty notices and authorise vehicle
clamping and removal in cases of traffic offences. These include parking on areas near
zebra or pelican crossings or causing an obstruction. In addition they attend road traffic
accidents, monitor road works carried out by utility companies and patrol major events.

Lower pay, poorer conditions
These days, police traffic wardens‟ wages and conditions are under attack, for example,
there are attempts to abolish the extra pay they are entitled to for shift and weekend working.
Thanks to PCS, these have not succeeded. The union has also agreed a three-year pay
deal, which means there will be a pay rise this year. Another challenge for PCS is the
proposed closure of units where traffic wardens are based, which could see many relocated
Sydney Tombleson is an area traffic manager who manages four bases in South London. He
started as a traffic warden 34 years ago and sees downsizing as one of the key changes
over the years. “Traffic wardens have concerns about their long-term future job security.
When we first started, we were struggling to recruit up to strength and staff retention was a
problem. Now that‟s not the case,” he says.
But he believes that PCS has not only improved pay and conditions, but also the way that
traffic wardens are seen. “When I first joined, the job had a stigma attached to it. But we
have managed to change the image of traffic wardens as providing a professional service.”
Margaret Leonard, another traffic warden manager, joined the service in 1976. She has
found that her work concentrates less on supporting the police than it did in the early years.
“Back then we contributed much more to police work, for example, when we patrolled key
events, such as Trooping the Colour. We still do that, but not as much.”
She agrees that the job is no longer secure but enjoys working with people and meeting the
A traffic warden for the past 15 years, Maria Thomas, says: “I‟m lucky, that terms and
conditions were in place when I got the job. And PCS has won us the pay deal. The union‟s
done well.”
Maria regularly travels on London buses along red routes, hopping off to deal with
obstructions along the way or reporting traffic offences en route. She says: “Elderly people
like you being on the buses. I‟m a chatty person, I like getting out there and I enjoy my job.”

Solidarity is an international concern
Across Europe a storm is brewing: swingeing cuts to public services, pay freezes, and large
scale privatisation affecting the most vulnerable in society – all without proper consultation or
a mandate. Sound familiar?
International trade union solidarity and working together is crucial if we are to save our public
services, save our jobs, and ensure our future.
That is why PCS is supporting a day of action, called by the European Trade Union
Confederation, on 29 September. Called „No to austerity – priority for jobs and growth‟, this
euro-demonstration coincides with a meeting of European finance ministers.
Ten delegates from PCS will attend the demo in Brussels, as agreed at our annual
conference, and take the opportunity to meet with our Greek sister union ADEDY.
Despite governments touting their slash and burn attacks on the public sector as the only
way forward, economists and commentators are questioning the moves, while trade unions
are fighting back. PCS is leading the way with a campaign based on reclaiming the billions of
pounds of tax that goes uncollected, evaded or avoided each year.
Even Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has
warned that making severe public spending and deficit cuts may plunge Europe and the
world into a „double dip‟ recession.
As unions across Europe gear up for 29 September, please take action yourself and email
your MP using our online e-action. Let them know that that there is an alternative to cuts and
that our public services are needed now more than ever.

Around Europe...
UK – Government departments to cut budgets by 25% to 40% and two-year pay freeze for
public sector employees
Greece – Public sector pay frozen until 2014, jobs to be cut, retirement age to rise, VAT up
to 23%
Ireland – Public sector workers‟ pension levy equivalent to 7.5% pay cut
Germany – €80bn to be cut by 2014, over 10,000 jobs in federal ministries to go, welfare
payments cut
Spain – Civil servants face 5% pay cut
France – €5bn in cuts over two years, partly by squeezing grants to local government
Italy – Budget cut of €13bn for 2011 and freeze on public sector hiring and pay rises
Portugal – The government wants to freeze public sector pay until 2014
Romania – Wages in the state sector to be slashed by 25%, pensions cut by 15% and
retirement age raised
Visit for more about our international work.

Members‟ giveaways
Entries should arrive no later than 30 September

Treat yourself with an M&S spree of £100
Leading high-street retailer, Marks & Spencer has donated £100 worth of its popular
vouchers for one lucky PCS member to win and spend in store.
You can gain up to 6% of extra value when purchasing M&S vouchers from Simply register with the site, click on the Discount shopping
box (top left), Department Stores then Marks & Spencer and decide how many vouchers you
wish to purchase.
To be in with a chance to win the vouchers, please refer to the giveaways section at the
bottom of page 27.

£50 of vouchers up for grabs!
PCS Discounts Club has teamed up with Love2shop to offer a PCS member the chance to
win £50 worth of high street vouchers.
These highly versatile vouchers can be used in more than 80 leading retailers and a full list
of participating brands can be found on the welcome page at
PCS members wishing to buy Love2shop vouchers from the site can benefi t from a 7%
discount and the vouchers can be used in stores such as JJB Sports, Iceland, River Island,
Warehouse, Goldsmiths, Mothercare, Wilkinson, Superdrug and Matalan. Select Discount
Shopping from the left-hand menu, High Street Vouchers and then make your selection.
For details of how to enter, please refer to the giveaway section on page 27.

Win a case of Spanish wine
PCS Discounts Club is delighted to offer one lucky PCS member the chance to win a case of
six bottles of wine from wine suppliers, Jordan Media.
The case of El Muro wine includes two bottles of red, two rose and two white from the
Spanish La Mancha region, which enjoys 300 days of sun a year. For many wine producers
these conditions would be too extreme but the durability of the grapes grown in this region
actually enhances the flavour of the wine.
For details of how to win, please refer to the Giveaway section at the bottom of page 27.

Literary leanings
Have you written a book? If so, you can win the chance to publish it, with a prize worth
Leading UK independent publisher Indepenpress offers book publishing solutions on all
levels for the new author. From five copies of your book printed for family and friends for just
£50, to a print on demand (PoD) option starting from £695, through to partnership publication
and conventional publishing, authors need look no further for a reliable and successful
publishing partner. Indepenpress‟s Silver PoD publication package, worth £1,295, includes
editing, typesetting, cover design, ISBN, a first print run of 100 books, wholesale distribution
and retail availability via
To be in with a chance of winning a Silver PoD package to publish your book, answer the
following question: 100 copies of your book are printed initially with the Silver PoD
publication option. What does PoD stand for?
Email your answer with „PCS giveaway‟ in the subject box to Include a
one-page synopsis, together with your name, address and telephone number. Visit for full details of the PoD Silver publication package, free to the winner.

Win the supernatural thriller of the year
Paul Bettany stars in the action-packed supernatural thriller Legion, which became available
to Blu-ray and DVD on 9 August, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
At a remote desert truck stop, the fate of the world will be decided. Evil‟s armies are
amassing. Armed and united by the Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany), a group of strangers
become unwitting soldiers on the frontlines of the Apocalypse. Their mission: protect a
waitress and her sacred unborn child from the relentless, bloody siege of the demonic
legion. Also starring Dennis Quaid (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Vantage Point), Lucas Black
(Jarhead) and Tyrese Gibson (Transformers).
Scott Stewart, the visual effects wizard behind some of Hollywood‟s biggest blockbusters,
including Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World‟s End and Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire, makes his directorial debut with this suspenseful, visually breathtaking story
about a small band of human survivors struggling to fend off an army of vengeful
supernatural beings.
We have three copies of the DVD to give away and all you have to do is answer this simple
question: Who plays the character of Archangel Michael in Legion?
Send your answer to with Legion DVD in the subject

How to enter our giveaways
      To be in with a chance of winning, simply register at
       before 30 September.
      Automatic entry for those already registered.
      Postal entries are accepted – send a postcard to PCS Discounts Club, All Clear
       House, Redwing Court, Ashton Road, Romford, Essex RM3 8QQ.
      Postcards should be marked with either Superbreak, B&Q or Virgin.
      E-Mail: stating in the header box either M&S,
       Love2shop, Wine
    Entries should arrive no later than 30 September 2010.
* Companies may keep your details for future marketing purposes. If you do not wish to
receive any future offers please state this on your competition entry.

If you think you may have won a giveaways competition but have not received a prize please
contact: James Francis, 020 7880 6243,

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