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NEWS FROM THE SMOKE FILLED ROOMS
BY JUDAS ISCARIOT - Winter Solstice 2006

The troop trains are packed with cheery faces on Christmas leave heading for home, mum and dad and the loved ones. Soon they will be far, far from the front-lines where the uneasy truce is set to explode again in January. Back at Chateau Falconcrest the Grandees plan their new, all-out offensive while in the trenches rumours fly in the absence of any hard news from GHQ. Management is preparing for onslaught and DWP Management supremo LEIGH LEWIS has responded by trying to cobble together a Perm/Sec union-busting group but most of them have told him to fuck off and his plan has been delayed until the outcome of the ballot.

No one knows which way it will go or indeed how many will even bother to vote for the next big push. But the feedback from around the country is good and no matter what the turn-out or how low the vote is there is little doubt that the membership will support the action if it's carried, if only to give Management another proverbial in the butt. SERWOTKA hopes that a big protest turn-out will kick-start stalled negotiations particularly if a selective overtime ban can be sustained over the critical period early in the New Year.

At the LUNITY Conference last week Serwotka described the ballot as the "most important campaign" the union has ever engaged in. In truth, the whole future of the civil service is at stake. Failure to win the ballot will see attacks on pay levels, pensions and working conditions accelerate, and would give the green light for the government to press ahead with further privatisations. To win the dispute we will need to take more than one day of action he said. The union will need to be ready to follow it up with more action, including further strikes and a national demonstration.

Maybe a bit Churchillian but Hannibal, Alexander and Caesar all knew that morale is the key to victory and that's one of MAREK'S great concerns. He recently said that some elements don't want the action to succeed. Many assumed he meant JAKE WILDE and his 4TM faction and he undoubtedly did but he also meant the SOCIALIST CAUCUS.

4TM is a faction with high hopes but little leadership. PRIESTLEY is approaching retirement and the MAD MONK has been happy to dump all the work on WILDE, who has been forced to delegate much of it to the likes of DAMIAN and HOWIE while ignoring the more cautious advice of MOIRA CAMPBELL and some of the more seasoned former Moderati in his camp. Consequently 4TM are now calling for a no vote in the ballot, which they believe will win them bags of votes come election time, particularly if it is coupled with the sort of RED scare BARRY used to churn out back in the bad old days.

This hasn't gone down to well with MOIRA and some of the other biggies let alone the PCS Democrats who 4TM seek to woo away from the BIG TENT. Madame CAMPBELL did not dissent at the last NEC meeting from the proposal from the General Secretary as the alternative is clearly unconditional surrender while one senior Democrat said that "4TM have embarked upon a dangerous and incorrect strategy which they should draw back from soon" which ignores reality and simply plays into Management's hands.

The CAUCUS who recently broke-away from the BIG TENT are on the other hand, all gung-ho for action but not necessarily the action proposed by SERWOTKA and LUNITY. Some DWP Caucus run branches are getting cold feet about getting the troops out, particularly the heartlands like CHARLIE McDONALD'S branch. So if they can't deliver it's because the strategy must be flawed, therefore if they fail it's not their fault and someone must be to blame - step forward the former MENDICANT SOCIALIST PARTY-led NEC.

Whether it will work remains to be seen. The CARCASE are divided over the split. LEE ROCK, who led the breakaway has been totally unable to set up an viable alternative and CHARLIE and his rabble are under orders from their ALLIANCE for WANKERS LIBERTY chiefs to stay in LUNITY at all costs, if only to preserve their one seat on the national executive. RED BACON, the grand old man of CARCASE politics is taking early retirement and is not standing for re-election and the new BIG TENT slate excludes all CARCASITES which means none of them are going anywhere anyway.

LEE ROCK, the Cockney voice of Sheffield, thinks he's still got one ace and that is to threaten to run a full "independent left" slate that would undercut the BIG TENT and pave the way for a 4TM victory unless LUNITY agrees to forget the recent unpleasantness and gives the CARCASE a bigger slice of the cake than they had before. LUNITY had offered talks in December:

PCS Left Unity

The Socialist Group in PCS

6 December 2006

Dear Comrades,

I wrote to you previously on behalf of the Left Unity National Committee.  We told you that we had discussed the PCS national strategy, based on Conference policy. This covers the key issues of jobs, pay, pensions, the Civil Service Compensation Scheme and privatisation. We said we needed to maximise support for the campaign. We proposed a meeting. You have not replied.

Since then a national ballot has indeed been called. PCS is seeking membership support for:

  • A one-day national strike on 31st January 2007,
  • To be followed by discontinuous action, including an initial two-week overtime ban.

Left Unity believes all the forces and resources of the union must now be concentrated on delivering a YES vote in this ballot. This would place us in the strongest possible position to achieve a settlement that PCS members need and deserve.

At this crucial point PCS members need the maximum unity in the face of the enormous tasks facing the union. We think that the decision by Socialist Caucus to "strike out independently" and split from Left Unity cannot be justified.  

It is of growing concern that some Socialist Caucus members are adopting the most negative attitude toward the PCS campaign. Some claiming they "can't deliver" support for the action. Your National Secretary has publicly stated in the Weekly Worker that Mark Serwotka is "organising defeat". While Left Unity would hope that this is not the position of the bulk of Socialist Caucus members, we would ask you to make this clear. We think you should repudiate this defeatism and join fully in winning a YES vote in this campaign.

The LUNC urgently wants to meet with representatives of Socialist Caucus to discuss the potential damage to PCS members interests arising from this unjustifiable split and how it can be avoided. Some time has now passed since we first proposed that we meet. We will shortly be in the Xmas break and then into the ballot. We therefore propose that two representatives of the Left Unity national officers meet two representatives of Socialist Caucus in London on the afternoon of Tuesday 19 December.

Please respond urgently.

Gordon Rowntree

National Secretary

But this was rejected by ROCK is his reply:

PCSU Socialist Caucus

For a Fighting & Democratic Left

Dear Gordon,

I refer to your email to Socialist Caucus of 6 th December forwarded by Janice Godrich to John Moloney. You may find it quicker to send emails to my home address that you already have.

Firstly, let me state for the record that Socialist Caucus will be doing all we can to help win the forthcoming ballot and to help build strong support for the action on 31 st January. This is, as you are aware, what we have always done and will continue to do.

As part of winning a 'yes' vote and building for the action we are also arguing for a coherent strategy to win. Without any such strategy members will see the 31 st January as little more than a token strike. We must have a campaign that consists of far more than is being put to members.

The calling off of action in the DWP Group on some of the same issues we are now balloting members on has not helped the national campaign one bit.

You are also aware that tens of thousand of jobs have been cut in the civil service. In the DWP alone over 20,000 jobs have gone in the last two years. Also, many members' real pay has been cut in 2006 without a national response. The willingness of the LU leadership to leave members in this position has caused a great deal of concern. The fact that we are now fighting over pensions further demonstrates what a poor offer was recommended on this question in the first place.

When SC took the initiative in backing Mark Serwotka for General Secretary in 2000 in opposition to the decision of LU to back Hugh Lanning (and against cries that we were undermining unity against Reamsbottom) we, and indeed Mark, exercised our right to advocate our policies independently to the members. We did not accept then, and we do accept now, that placing our significantly different policies before the membership is barred on the grounds of unity in action.

In you letter to LU members you stated, ".Socialist Caucus has decided to split from LU... this will have little impact on the campaigning work of LU and none on that of PCS ." If we are so insignificant then you would not bother writing to us.

Your letter to us makes no mention of the lack of a democratic culture within Left Unity. You are well aware, including from our initial statement on our website, that this is very important to us. We would also raise again the issue of the systematic exclusion of some of our comrades by leading LU members.

We are content though to meet your comrades. We cannot make your proposed date of the 19 th December. We can however make any Saturday in January, alternatively any workday evening in Sheffield/Manchester. However, assuming that you are not inviting us to be lectured at, will you please send us in advance your proposals which will be discussed at any such joint meeting

Regards

Lee Rock

National Secretary

PCSU Socialist Caucus

The plainly off-beam ROCK is overplaying his hand. Holding LUNITY at arms length until January makes a deal almost impossible. We're starting to run into election time, and if a deal is to be brokered, it needs to be now so that Caucus candidates can appear on the LU slate in time for AGMs. It could be done now though it would also mean a night of the long knives on the LU slate. But JANICE and DANNY are prepared to pay it, or rather the SOCIALIST WANKERS will, if it preserved the unity of the left. Maybe not for CHARLIE and certainly not for ROCK but I can see the texts now "Sorry, Tansy. We've replaced you with Steve Lloyd."

Meanwhile, PCS are running an article in the PCS View very soon on our Left Unity Hitler Youth, Sarah Mayo. Nicely timed for the branch elections in the next couple of months. She is also making guest appearances everywhere at all the rallies and meetings, although totally UNELECTED. She is also on the LU national slate. If this is their best up and coming star, they must be desperate:

Public and Commercial Services Union Undeb Y Gwasanaethau

DVLA Swansea Branch Cangen DVLA Abertawe

C1 - East Dwyrain C1 DVLA Longview Road Heol Golygfa - Hir Swansea Abertawe

SA6 7JL SA6 7JL

 

Mr Jeff Evans

Senior National Officer

PCS Regional Office

1st Floor Phoenix House

Catheriedial Road

Cardiff

20th December 2006

Dear Jeff,

Re: Breach of Security at DVLA Swansea on 20/12/06.

I am writing to you to bring your attention to an incident that occurred at the DVLA main site today.

At approximately 11:40 this morning I received a phone call from the Security Control room on the main Morriston site. We are currently on a heightened state of security alert and a security officer had stopped a gentleman acting suspiciously who was taking photographs on-site without permission.

Security stopped the man who when challenged claimed he was working for the PCS magazine. Security contacted the DVLA press office who knew nothing about the man or why he was taking photos. As the press office was unaware of anything relating to this, the PCS office was contacted. I was then asked to go and speak with the security officer who had challenged the photographer and was with him.

When I arrived at the location the photographer Mr Roger Donovan was with Miss Sara Mayo (DVLA staff member) and he explained to me that he had been commissioned by PCS View/HQ to take photographs of Miss Mayo at DVLA. I explained to him that security had called me, as the PCS Branch Chair, and that I was not aware that he was scheduled to arrive at the site to take photographs.

I explained to Mr Donovan that I could try and request he was given permission to take photographs he asked what the likely hood is and I replied it would probably unlikely, as he had not followed the correct procedures. The security officer then advised Mr Donovan and Ms Mayo to leave the site and take any photographs on the public roads in front of the DVLA. Mr Donovan apologised and stated that he was under the impression that the correct procedures had been followed. Mr Donovan & Miss Mayo were both fine and both left site to resume the photo-shoot outside the DVLA.

Upon further investigation with the pass office it seems Mr Donovan arrived on site at the pass office and asked for Miss Mayo in person, who subsequently booked him on-site.

There were concerns raised as only yesterday three cars were broken into and also due the recent inappropriate e-mails issues there have been local journalists who have also attempted to gain access to the site and speak with staff about the e-mail issues.

I wanted to make you aware of the serious nature of this incident I have not been able to speak with the Head of the Security force to ascertain how serious this breach is and what if any further action will be taken.

My Colleague Martin Phillips contacted your office but unfortunately both Peter & yourself were in a meeting. Alyson Burrowes later spoke with Martin Phillips and confirmed that neither she nor anyone else in your office was aware that the photographer was scheduled to be at DVLA.

I am very annoyed that someone did not think to inform the local TUS of this, as it does not show us in a very good light when you consider the possible security implications.

I would be grateful if you could pursue this issue for me please. Once I have spoken to the Head of security I will be in touch with you again.

Please do not hesitate contact me if you require further information or assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Jenkins

Branch Chair

(Via e-mail)

Cc. Mr G. Parker (IR/DU)

Mr M. Davies (HOSF)

Mr P. Harris (PCS)

DVLA TUS

It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it

Sy Oliver 1939

(pop: Fun Boy Three and Bananarama)


MORE BEFORE THE NEW YEAR!!!!! KEEP TUNED IN!!!!!

AND NOW A SEASONAL MESSAGE FROM BARRABAS

1. Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

2. May you have a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures, and due regard to the race, creed, colour , age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual orientation of the wishee.

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a) This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal.

b) This greeting is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting.

c) This greeting implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

d) This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.