Feb 13 2015

PCS DCLG NEC Letter to HQ on suspension of elections

Category: News — 9:56 pm

Dear Janice,

I am writing on behalf of the DCLG National Branch Executive Committee (BEC), to formally object to the NEC decision to suspend the NEC elections for up to 12 months.

The DCLG branch considers that the decision taken by the emergency NEC in December was not only wrong but undemocratic. It was taken without consulting PCS members and lacked any objective evidence to support the reasons given for why this decision was taken. It is hugely disappointing that such a significant decision was taken on this basis and sets a worrying precedent for the future democracy of PCS.

The branch is fully aware of the Government’s attack on civil servants, with cuts to pay and pensions and specifically the Government’s attempts at union-busting through its decision to abolish check off. However, the branch is unconvinced by the NEC’s claims that the Government’s efforts to financially and industrially paralyse PCS are a justification for abandoning a fundamental principal of this union, which is to annually elect its leadership.

The NEC insists that the decision is directly due to the financial impact of the Government’s decision to impose an end to check off across the civil service. However, the leadership of PCS has been aware of the potential risk to the union’s finances resulting from this action since summer 2013 and this was evidenced by Eric Pickles’ attempt to abolish check off in DCLG.  This action was only thwarted due to the fact that check off was incorporated into DCLG members’ contracts and a court declared Eric Pickles’ abolition of the arrangement in DCLG to be unlawful.

Given that no consideration was given towards the impact of the ending of check off in the projected budgeting in the Financial Report 2014, it appears negligent that the NEC is now claiming that the survival of the union is at risk due to an action that was foreseen more than 18 months ago. Chris Baugh’s financial report to the ADC 2014 gave delegates assurances that the financial position of the union was secure and that PCS had the financial ability to function, despite the challenge to check off. It therefore seems inconceivable to believe that the financial position of the union less than 12 months later has deteriorated to such an extent that it would justify the suspension of elections, and that no other alternatives were sought for reducing expenditure, rather than undermining the democratic process of the union.

The DCLG PCS branch  strongly asserts that the NEC should reverse this decision and agree to begin the process for the NEC elections within two weeks of the end of ADC 2015 (May 21). Additionally, the branch asks for clarification on the current financial position of the union in respect to the following questions:

  • What is the NEC’s current projected assessment of the financial impact of the abolition of check off on PCS?
  • Why did the Finance Report 2014 not give consideration to the financial impact of the end of check off, despite the NEC’s awareness of the Government’s intention to abolish check off across the civil service?
  • What new information or circumstances came to light between the scheduled NEC meeting in December and the subsequent emergency NEC only two weeks later that led to the decision to suspend elections?
  • Was the decision to suspend NEC elections for 2015 solely based upon the financial impact of the ending of check off? If not, are there any other financial considerations the emergency NEC discussed that led to the decision to suspend elections?
  • What other measures and costings were considered to reduce financial expenditures short of the suspension of elections, e.g. reductions in delegates attending conference? If there were other proposals why were these excluded?
  • Is there any truth in respect of the suggestion that PCS financial liabilities exceed £7 million and are they a factor in the decision to suspend elections?

In conclusion, I would stress that the branch believes that as a matter of principle, the NEC should restore elections for 2015 and work in an open, transparent and collaborative way with all PCS branches to explore how we can address the financial concerns of the union and fight effectively against the Government’s attack on PCS.

The branch would be grateful for a response to all the points raised in this letter.

Yours sincerely,

 

Paulette Romain

Branch Secretary

PCS DCLG National Branch Executive Committee

cc    Mark Serwotka

       Chris Baugh