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ROUND AND ABOUT
BY JUDAS ISCARIOT - LATE AUGUST 2005

August is known as the silly season by the press because the long parliamentary recess means they have to fill their columns with even more rubbish to make up the difference.

But back in the trenches it’s business as usual as members returning from leave to prepare for another big push on the DWP front. Hopes that the cease-fire created by talks in July could turn into an armistice were dashed on August 3rd when DWP Management told the GEC to get stuffed. Backtracking on earlier promises and telling PCS negotiators to look up stuff on the DWP intranet when our people know very well what is there and were seeking to negotiate easements, is not negotiation as we recognise it. But the management position has, at least for the moment, ended the bitter in-fighting between the Socialist Caucus and Lunity.

The promise of an internecine bloodbath at the joint London BEC was stopped in its tracks when JOHN McINALLY (SSP) on behalf of the GEC agreed to put its weight behind the Caucus wailing for a strike ballot on job cuts in London DWP.

There were over 80 Branch reps at the meeting and no dissent. The strike ballot for DWP London will commence 1st week of September. This will be for a one-day strike followed by selective action, and be the kick off for national action. The Driving Standards Agency has already received their ballot papers for their action against job cuts.

It appears that DWP management may have got wind of the prospective action and have suddenly and unexpectedly re-opened talks. Whatever the outcome of these talks, anything less than total capitulation by management (probably including withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan ), would be seen by the Caucus as abject failure.

While Lunity dusts down its combat fatigues Jakes’ boys and the Moderati are, as usual, saying nothing. The only issue they’ve picked up concerns the fate of BIFFA BRYANT, who finally was suspended from all union positions for six months following fisticuffs with a fellow H in December 2003 (see PFLs passim). In fact the NEC decision was harsher than the original recommendation of a mere rap over the knuckles. But nothing less than hanging, drawing and quartering will satisfy JAKE and LES PRIESTLEY, who clearly intend to make this an election issue.

Whether it will do them any good remains to be seen. But one part of the whole macabre saga is particularly interesting given the NEC rule 10 action against BRYANT. BIFFA is down as a candidate for LU in the race for Group Vice President, of which there shall be one from former IR and one from former Customs. BIFFA is also down for the AS role in new group.

By all accounts the elections for new posts will co-incide with the end of BIFFA’s suspension. His hustings should be a cracker, though it will need to be an absolute "belter" now.

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So, farewell BARBARA SCARFE. The woman who scabbed during last November’s one day strike eventually bowed to members’ pressure and resigned from the DCA GEC on the on 27th July. Harmless old Tankie TONY WARDLE will be called up so The Head of Steam, a seedy public house at Euston, should do a roaring trade. There may be pressure put on TONY by Left Unity not to accept the call up to allow MIKE LOATES, who plays around on The View editorial board and is a big mate of CHARLIE MCDONALD to go up a peg instead. TONY is unlikely to listen, however, as he needs the FT. Having survived going back to work last year by taking the Stage 3 H&S Course he has nothing to fall back on this year and as he hasn't done a days work in the Courts for over 30 years, COMRADE WARDLE may find life in the real world difficult to come to terms with.

Meanwhile LES MORGAN, back on the DCA GEC is making regular trips to London from Cardiff but he now walks from Paddington to DCA HQ in Victoria . It was assumed USELESS did this out of fear of further terrorist actions on the Tube. It now transpires that the real reason is to avoid paying a Zone One return fare.

A DCA meeting with Management was abandoned during the second wave of terror bombings in July. After watching the news on the TV for five minutes and being told to "go about your normal routine and business", JAMESON and his “Independent” cronies took the message literally and spent the next six hours in the pub.

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The Jockocracy used to spend their summer days improving their handicap, boozing and gambling or swanning it at BARRY’S hacienda in Spain . Now they’re more likely to be scanning the sits vac in anticipation of MAREK’S axe. But there’s hope for them still. VAL STANSFIELD has resurfaced as Training Officer for TSSA, the railway booking clerks’ union, doubtless to share her vast knowledge of transport and training with the hapless idiots who will have to put up with her from now on. She’s clearly started the way she means to go on: incompetently. One of our JOCK agents applied for the Regional Organiser post in Glasgow advertised on the TOSSA website with a closing date for applications of 7th September. On 22nd August he received the following email from SKIPPY:

There is no longer a vacancy for a regional organiser in Glasgow , although vacancies still exist in London , The East Midlands and Bristol . Do you still require an application pack for the regional organiser post?

Val Stansfield

Meanwhile some of the earnest brethren within the SOCIALIST CAUCUS will have spent a scintillating week at the WEEDY WANKER summer school in New Cross to hear LEE ROCK bore them on the topic of “Respect – genuine left or popular front?”

Those who can’t get enough of this should know that there are still vacant places for the Alliance for Wankers’ Liberty day school on 17 th September.

Not only will they hear giants of the labour movement like BALONEY and MACDONALD but they will also have the dubious pleasure of a speaker from the NUT teachers’ union.

Since the NUT:

1) hasn’t won a vote for action at national level for over 15 years and

2) has managed to get itself excluded from discussions with Government on trivial matters such as salaries, allowances and the complete remodelling of the school workforce;

It would be interesting if any attendees could share the pearls of wisdom coming from a union which, although the largest teaching union in England and Wales, has let the rival NASUWT and ATL set the agenda while it sits outside the tent shouting like a drunk who has missed the last train home?

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Who is going to get the PS2 bar job in Liverpool?

The options are:

Marie Morgan - Steve Farley's golden girl
Barry Fuge
Liam O'Donnell
Sheila Pevely - NW TUC
Sarah White - Land Registry Birkenhead
James Frith - never heard of him
Kath Liddell - need I say more?
Pete Middleman

Note: the NEC members doing the sift unsurprisingly picked out NEC members to
interview! Should be interesting anyway.

We need to be put out of our misery but please don't say Kath L!! Most of
the money seems to be on FUDGE at the moment....

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Back in Geordieland FATTY COX has taken a leaf out of the SSP’s book with a begging letter of his own:

Dear All,

I don't normally send out requests for sponsor money but...

My other half, Mrs C, is doing an abseil off the Baltic Building on the Quayside on Sunday 16th October. She is trying to raise money on behalf of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).

I think she is getting her second wind in life doing this sort of thing (Me? I've just got wind !!! ) Anyroadup, I've said I'm not that impressed. Now, a bhungy jump off the Tyne Bridge that would be something else.

Could I call upon your generous natures and charideee and ask for some money ? All donations gratefully received.

Joe Cox
Branch Secretary
PCS DWP Benton Park View
Room BP6001
Alnwick House
Benton Park View
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE98 1YX
0191 22 59881

Couldn’t make it up, could you? Sending the wife out to raise cash for his employer, Mr Blunkett. Perhaps that nice Mr Brown will get a share too, as he’s 50 per cent qualified .

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Bene qui latuit, bene vixit.

One who has lived well has lived unnoticed.

Ovid