Category Archives: SOLIDARITY

TORIES THROW DOWN GAUNTLET TO PCS – OFFICE CLOSURES A BATTLE FOR US ALL

glasgow-solidarity-1
Showing solidarity against closures at PCS DWP SE Region

The Tories threw down the gauntlet to PCS and all those who care about public services just before Xmas when they announced over half the job centres in Glasgow were to close.

Ignoring their own guidelines for how far claimants should have to travel, they used google maps to decide which centres to close.

This is just one recent DWP closure announcement with more to follow in the new year, alongside across the board closures in other departments including more redundancy announcements in HMRC.  These will have a huge impact on our members, the number of jobs and the services they provide.

The PCS NEC has agreed to step up our campaign against the closures with coordination of political campaigning,  public meetings and targeted industrial action. This is absolutely right because we cannot leave each office or town to fight off these closures one by one.

As Socialist Worker has argued, we urgently need a national campaign  and this should include national strike action.  This position has been adopted by a number of DWP branches and regions.

The campaign in Glasgow has got off to  a great start with members getting organised and local public meetings with service users. The closures have already been raised at Prime Minister’s Question time, there was a Parliamentary debate 20 December and it has been discussed at the Scottish parliament social security committee.

But Glasgow’s closures are not the only ones that have already been announced. And we need to show the offices affected that they are not on their own if they fight.

Where we have taken action PCS campaigns have succeeded in resisting closures such as in BIS in Sheffield and HMRC in Dundee.

Theresa May’s government is divided and are facing a growing scandal over Tory attacks on benefits and job seekers. Ken Loach’s film “I Daniel Blake” has helped build the campaign and focus on the barbaric cuts that the Tories are trying to hand out to the most vulnerable.

The PCS fight against closures and to defend our members terms, conditions and jobs should be part and parcel of this wider campaign and should be based on uniting service users with workers.

For example, let’s get a national statement against the closures which we could ask Ken Loach to sign and set up as an online petition. We need to think big, bold and go national.

We can learn the lessons from our successful campaigns, whether in BIS, Land Registry or in our Museums and Galleries. Combining militant industrial action with the widest possible political campaigning is what gets results.

What you can do

  • Send an urgent solidarity message to offices facing closure to show the members in the affected offices that they have support from around the UK.  Send them to the DWP group office leeds@pcs.org.uk

Download solidarity poster here

  • Help organise a public meeting in your town or region. Or put on a campaign film showing of “I Daniel Blake”

Socialist Worker leaflet

 

This is what an all out strike looks like..

Day 8 of fantastic all out strike by PCS National Museum of Wales
Day 8 of fantastic all out strike by PCS National Museum of Wales

PCS members in National Museums Wales are on all out strike. Their courage deserves all of our support.

Just like Junior Doctors in England they are fighting to defend their weekends against bullying bosses who are threatening to sack them and impose a new contract. Their response was to go on all out indefinite strike action!

They work weekends and bank holidays so we can enjoy museums and galleries. They are very low paid earning under £16000 without their weekend enhancements yet they are being asked to face a pay cut of thousands of pounds a year.

We know from our experience at National Gallery that with your solidarity they can win. Watch and share their video

They need all the financial and moral support we can raise for them so please do what you can.  

Please use this poster to show your support NMW PCS Solidarity poster

NMW appeal letter     NMW PCS Collection sheet

You can donate via pay pal here 

Other ways to donate:

Bank Transfer: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch Hardship Fund, Unity Trust Bank, sort code: 60-83-01, account number: 20364700

Cheques: Payable to PCS Amgueddfa Cymru Hardship fund c/o PCS Wales 2nd Floor/Transport House/1 Cathedral Rd, Cardiff CF11 9SD

PayPal: http://bit.ly/26eNhvq                   

Other ways you can help

  • Inviting a PCS rep from National Museum Wales to visit your organisation to talk about our dispute and/or organising a collection

Please help as Welsh Museum workers escalate strike action

Appeal for support for PCS National Museums Wales strikers

We are asking for your support for a dispute in National Museums Wales that has now been going on for over two years in protest against cutting weekend and bank-holiday payments.

wales bestMuseum staff work weekends and bank holidays so the public can enjoy our museums and galleries. But they should get a just reward for having to give up time with their own families, and as very low paid workers they rely on these payments to survive financially.

PCS members are escalating their strike action and will now strike for the next four weekends.

Your support helped us succeed at National Gallery in London so we hope we can all do the same at National Museums Wales!

Low paid workers need urgent support to keep fighting so if you can please donate to their strike fund and help raise backing for their campaign.

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They have been involved in a long-running dispute most recently taking strike action over the Easter bank holiday weekend when a vote of No Confidence was issued to museum bosses  by the workforce.

Despite intervention from the Welsh government to get talks with the Museum back on, these were unsuccessful as management were not willing to make any changes or put any new offer on the table. National Museum Wales now claim they are facing a 4.7% cut in annual grant in aid from the Welsh Government and cannot afford weekend payments.

PCS believe that the lowest-paid should not have to bear the brunt of budget cuts.

PCS has therefore called rolling strike action across the museums in Wales starting on Saturday 09 April until 1 May.

Urgent Appeal for Support

  • Join over 12000 in signing the petition Fair Pay at National Museums Wales
  • Send a message of support to PCS branch chair Neil Harrison at tubz1917@live.com or branch secretary Peter Hill at dennishill20@hotmail.com
  • Invite a striker to your town or city to raise solidarity
  • Donate to the strike fund by clicking here or you can donate to Unity Trust Bank, account Name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch, account Number: 2033182, sort code: 08-60-01

You can also ‘Like’ the Facebook page to keep in touch.

Thank you

In solidarity

Candy Udwin

PCS Culture Sector

PS: PCS Culture Sector also has a petition against oil sponsorships at the British Museum. Please sign by clicking here.

Good News ! Tax-haven based Care UK kicked out of North London health service

It’s always good to remember that protests work!  Today we heard after a long campaign  that Care UK will be ousted from the contract running the Out of Hours health service in North London. GPs in a not-for-profit consortium will take over. 

Well done to Keep Our NHS Public and other campaigners in Camden, Islington, Haringey and Barnet. See our press release below. It’s timely since Care UK not only makes massive profits while cutting staff wages, but avoids taxes in offshore tax havens.

And good to get the news on a day when Junior Doctors continue to inspire us with their united solid stand on strike against the unfair and dangerous contracts that the government want to impose. Junior Doctors will now step up their action to all out strike on 26 and 27 April. Polls show the public supports all out action. So now we all need to get behind them and make sure they win.

Junior Doctors-Everyone’s Fight London-wide public meeting 12 April

National demonstration against Austerity and for Health Homes Jobs and Education 16 April

Care uk protest

Protesting to demand Care UK kicked out

Award of out of hours contract to GP group is a victory for health campaigners as tax-haven based company is ousted

Camden Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) welcomes the decision to award the contract for the GPs out of hours service in north central London to London Central and West Unscheduled Care Collaborative (LCW), a GP-led not-for-profit organisation.

“This is an important victory for health campaigners,” said Candy Udwin, chair of Camden KONP. “We have been fighting a long and bitter battle to stop the private company Care UK taking over the service for the next five years.”

The out of hours service provides cover for local GPs at night and weekends when surgeries are closed. When you phone the GP outside normal working hours the service connects you to a medical advice line and doctors and other medical staff on call.

In Camden and Islington this service was originally provided by a consortium of local GPs. But in 2012 the contract was awarded to a private company Harmoni.

In 2013 Harmoni was criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and by Camden council after a number of failures, mainly due to staff shortages, including the death of a baby in its care (CQC report 8 May 2013, Camden council health scrutiny committee 2 July 2013)

In 2014, Harmoni was taken over by Care UK, Britain’s biggest private healthcare company involved in one of the UK’s longest running disputes in the health service – a strike by care assistants in Doncaster.

There was fresh criticism of the out of hours service and urgent care centres Care UK operates in north London after the bad practices revealed by undercover reporter in a documentary aired on ITV last July.

“It is good news that Care UK has lost the contract. Care UK is owned by a secretive private equity company based in a tax haven, exactly the sort of company criticised this week for avoiding paying taxes and hiding its true ownership,” says Candy Udwin.

“Such companies should have no part in a publicly funded and publicly run health service.”

Camden KONP presented evidence about the failures of Harmoni and Care UK’s out of hours service to Camden’s health scrutiny committee – and lobbied the council hearings – at the start of 2014.

“As a result, in February 2014 the council urged commissioners to ensure that non-profit organisations such as local doctors groups were considered – and that contracts were not simply awarded to private providers who put in lower bids but provided a worse service. This was another considerable victory at the time,” says Candy Udwin.

LCW is the current  provider of the NHS 111 phoneline for Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.  The 111 phoneline will be combined with the out of hours service in all five north central London boroughs – Camden, Islington, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey.

It will cover more than a million patients.

Camden KONP presented evidence about the failures of Harmoni and Care UK’s out of hours service to Camden’s health scrutiny committee – and lobbied the council hearings – at the start of 2014. As a result, in February 2014 the council urged commissioners to ensure that non-profit organisations such as local doctors groups were considered – and that contracts were not simply awarded to private providers who put in lower bids but provided a worse service.

Lambeth Library Occupation needs Solidarity!

The Occupation of Carnegie Library in Lambeth is now on day 5 and they need our support. See below for the solidarity statement from PCS Culture Sector and Show Culture Some Love. More information and Stella Duffy on how and why to support the campaign

Libraries up and down the country are threatened with closure. That makes it even more important that we support the fantastic resistance in Lambeth from all those in occupation and staff in Unison who struck last month. This is especially important now an eviction notice has been served with a court case due on Friday 8th.

Send urgent messages of support to lambethlibrariescampaign@gmail.com or facebook  page here

Carnegie Library Occupied!

Solidarity Message to Save Lambeth Libraries Campaign from PCS Culture Sector & Show Culture Some Love

Dear Comrades,

We are writing on behalf of activists in the PCS Culture Sector Group in support of the occupation of Carnegie Library in Lambeth.

We would like to send the most heartfelt solidarity to all the parents, children, librarians and library assistants and supporters, involved in this campaign.

We are full of admiration at your élan, your daring, courage and panache at running an intelligent, inclusive, dynamic campaign against the attempts by Lambeth Council…A Labour council note, attempting to put a price on knowledge, a cost on community.

The council claims that the two libraries set for closure will re-open in 2017 at some point. This is the same council that is currently social cleansing residents from so many working class estates and then selling them off to property developers. So, why should we believe them about the boroughs libraries?

As workers and activists in the culture sector, we are fully aware of the importance of a properly funded library service. A service that acts as the heart and lungs of the community and that lifts people up and expands horizons.

We hereto pledge to do all that we can to:
– Publicise your struggle
– Link it to other fights against library closures up and down the country-such as in Coventry and Sunderland
– Bring what supplies you deem necessary to sustain the occupation for as long as it lasts

We also support your call for Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and other Labour leaders to go to the occupation to discuss with the campaigners what can be done to fight the Tories’ cuts. We know that solidarity works, last year we managed to win huge gains at the National Gallery in our fight against privatization because of the amazing support we received for our strike action

In Solidarity,

Clara Paillard, President, PCS Culture Sector Group,

Tom Taylor, PCS/Secretary, SERTUC Creative & Leisure Industries Committee-personal capacity,

Candy Udwin, PCS National Gallery

Floyd Codlin, PCS delegate to SERTUC Creative & Leisure Industries Committee

Tracey Edwards, PCS Culture Secretary

To add your name to this statement please email Candy.Udwin@gmail.com

Teachers to join doctors, time for united strike action!!

Teachers give standing ovation to  BMA speaker calling for joint action between doctors and teachers

  • Teachers at the NUT Easter conference have voted to ballot for national strike action and for coordination with Junior Doctors.  
  • The BMA will escalate to all out strike action at the end of April.
  • PCS should join them to open another front against the Tories while they are in disarray!

This is surely the best way to take on the attacks our members are facing from all sides and to grasp the opportunity for a coordinated fight back against the government.

THE BEST CHANCE FOR A FIGHT AGAINST ATTACKS FROM ALL SIDES

The PCS NEC will table a motion to our annual conference in May calling for a continued campaign against the pay freeze “which includes commitments to press for coordinated action across the trade union movement to break the pay cap” and to “coordinate group and branch disputes”.

That is welcome. But our members are under attack from all sides, and it seems to me now is the best chance for a while to really make a stand. This is a National Strategy motion that National Gallery branch have submitted to conference.

The Junior Doctors have led the way, but others are joining in. The Tories are weakened by their in-fighting over Europe. The opposition to welfare cuts and tax injustice has begun to crack open the government plans.

Members in HMRC are consulting over what action to take over office closures and redundancies. If national action connects with the oppsition to Tory policies it would gain massive support.

In DWP we face possible attacks on our conditions because of Universal Credit which becomes more dis-credited every day.

PCS members in museums have already been fighting to defend their weekends. In Wales six museums struck over Easter. In Scotland they suspended their action after being promised a new offer.

The Land Registry is back under threat of privatisation again. PCS members saw off the attack before – we can do it again.

It is brilliant that PCS is backing a Major Demo in Sheffield 9 April to say no to BIS office closures.

We should do everything we can to support it and come behind all of these fightbacks. Our experience at National Gallery shows we can win when that happens.

But if we really want to start to turn the tide we know we need national action on the widest possible basis and now seems as good a time as ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scottish weekend strikes suspended – now all out to support Wales!!

A new offer has been made after the threat of 6 weeks of strikes by PCS members in Scotland fighting over weekend pay!! So strikes in National Museums Scotland have been suspended.

But strikes at 6 museums in Wales will still go ahead over Easter so now we need to go all out to support them!

Declaring ‘no confidence’ in management as strikes launched

Please like their facebook page and Sign the petition for fair pay at NMW .

DONATIONS They urgently need money for their hardship fund so please make a donation too if you can
Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch
Account number: 20331827
Sort code: 08-60-01

More information here