THE POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF CPSA
FREEDOM! UNITY! SOCIALISM!
REVOLUTION UNTIL VICTORY!
ROUND AND ABOUT
The pristine beauty of sudden snowfalls hovering like silken covers across the bleak landscape of no-mans land will soon be shattered when the big push starts next week. All leave has been cancelled as the troops get read to go over the top and back at Falconcrest there is quiet satisfaction amongst the Grandees at the result of the ballot.
The overwhelming majority in favour of action and the reasonable turn-out for the poll came as no surprise except to the most naïve supporters of 4TM, who believed their own propaganda and genuinely thought that LUNITY was going to be humiliated by the ballot. WILDE & Co, with their eyes on this year's elections, were hoping to win over the dubious element who don't want to strike, forgetting that most of them aren't in the union and those who are don't bother to vote either.
4TM's NO/NO campaign outdid Management in its hysteria and laid them open to LUNITY ridicule and abuse. The blame-game started immediately after the results were published with some arguing that they should have heeded MOIRA CAMPBELL and made it clear that while opposing the action they would support the strike if that's what the members wanted. This is what they're now saying somewhat belatedly but the damage has been done - not least to hopes of rallying the London Left Alliance in time for another attempt to smash the SOCIALIST CAUCUS in London DWP.
Fortunately for them the CARCASE has done the work for them, sinking all hopes of a rapprochement with the Grandees after an acrimonious summit meeting that broke down last week. The GRANDEES sent Alan RUNSWICK and Tony COMMIE to meet the CAUCUS wannabees in Manchester . It proved to be a very unfortunate affair as the CARCASE sent Lee ROCK, Chris HICKEY and boring harpie Annette WRIGHT. Alan asked the CAUCUS crew what exactly their problems were within LUNITY and were subject to a triad of rants. When Alan informed them that the CAUCUS actions could let the "right-wing" back in, ROCK suggested that the LUNITY/PCS "Democratic Alliance" stand down and give them a clear run. Even the very able Alan RUNSWICK was lost for words.
Lee ROCK has clearly lost all sense of reality, again. The CARCASE will run a slate that will not even rally its own supporters and it runs the risk of coming in a humiliating fourth, after STUART CURRIE'S Moderates, in the NEC race.
Yes, BUNTER is still in the game, vowing to run a small Moderati list with himself at the fore, in this year's elections. STUART, now a Liberal Democrat activist, has his eyes firmly fixed on the Scottish parliamentary elections, and cares little about PCS politics these days. His National Moderate website has died and his only campaign has been to try to blackmail JAKE & LEGS PRIESTLEY into running him for PRES in return for Moderati support. That's been rejected but CURRIE can still muster enough votes to spike 4TM's guns.
It's too early in the game to predict the outcome of this year's elections but the Grandees are confident they can head off the challenge from 4TM and the CARCASE. The 4TM crew are expected to make a recovery from their recent faux pas, and their bloc on the NEC could go up from one to at least four with a modest swing in their favour, though this depends on how well they can mobilise their own constituency. Needless to say the Moderati will get nothing and that looks like the fate of the CARCASE as well.
When the ballot was announced in December Mark Serwotka held a meeting in Falconcrest for all PCS staff. In it he outlined the reasons for the ballot, including the issue of the low Treasury Pay remit. He described 1.9 per cent as "unacceptable" and quite right too. Unfortunately he forgot that he had decided that PCS STAFF would only be getting...you guessed it, 1.9 per cent. The 2006 Pay issue has still not been settled with imposition now likely. This raises the distinct likelihood of a strike ballot for GMB members. All out at FALCONCREST??
One of the more interesting management attitudes has been towards the pay of those staff in the OS2 grade. Apparently as a result of the controversial job evaluation exercise, this grade, mostly staffed by black females, will be having their pay frozen as part of the imposition. The OS1 grade doesn't fare much better, with an increase below even the 1.9 per cent.
However, the need to tighten belts hasn't quite worked its way through to the Interview Selection process. The arduous task of filling the SNO vacancy in Birmingham will require one more attempt (presumably in luxury accommodation) after the panel failed to agree who should get the job. So the two finalists, both external, will need to be interviewed again. Surely not possible, you say, as the rules say that there should be 5 on the panel for all posts graded National Officer and above? Alas, as has happened countless times before, only 4 people made up the panel. Now what was the name of that 5 star hotel again?
Incidentally the LU policy on recruitment to higher grades ("No blacks, gays, women or disabled") has been maintained after IAN LAWRENCE was told he was not in the final two. No wonder FRANK CAMPBELL has incurred the wrath of SERWOTKA and BAUGH by handing MARK LEOPARD a secondment to a Negotiations Officer post in HQ1. MARK has tried and failed in several attempts to get a job in PCS, but thanks to Frank's demob-happy attitude is now the only disabled person to have been recruited to a (vaguely) senior post since Left Unity have been in power. The irony in all this? MARK LEOPARD is a member of Left Unity.
There was also much amusement in HMRC at the decision DAVE BEAN took when he heard the news of his comrade's surprise promotion. Instead of MARK resigning his Assistant Group Secretary post, thus paving the way for CLIVE "BIFFA" BRYANT to return just in time for the elections, Mr BEAN decided that the best way was for him to ask a member of the GEC to do Leopard's AGS job for him, thus preventing the need for a call-up. This creative interpretation of the rulebook managed to get both factions in HMRC exercised - the Indie/4tm crew banging on about Bean the Autocrat and LU people left wondering whether this is really the end of the road for Biffa.
And the end of the road for some old friends as well. So farewell then STEVE RICHARDSON. The inarticulate drunken bum joins the ranks of the superannuated on 31 st January along with ANN LOWDEN, who retired in December. STEVE goes a day after completing 40 years of service and he's gutted that he's worked an extra day for nothing, so he's going on strike on the day. Still don't be too despondent - he's coming back to haunt us in Brighton this May, where he'll get a proper send off to Valhalla - a pack of Embassy Regal, a disposable lighter and directions to the beach.
And talking about PFL old-timers spare a thought for PAUL FLEWERS, the maverick TROT intellectual of CPSA in the 1970s & 80s, who became an outstanding scholar only to end up as a dogsbody in London University. DOCTOR PAUL is now suffering from "chronic fatigue syndrome" and would welcome cards from any of his old chums. Another PFL old boy, MANEK DUBASH, (arrested at CPSA conference in the 80s for spliffing up at a local demo, the whip-round to pay his fine was over-subscribed), left the service to become an IT wizard and his glittering career can be seen on his own website at http://www.manekdubash.com/ . He now lives in a mansion in Lewes. But he still keeps up the fight joining with other regulars in a boycott of the Lewes Arms since they stopped serving Harvey's Sussex Best , a popular local brew. The campaign involves vigils outside the pub at peak times and a "disloyalty" card marked up for every pint bought elsewhere and sent to Greene King, the brewers who withdrew Harveys from the Lewes Arms in December. Memo to Manek: try not to repeat the pickle you got into before, and since you're now opulently rich, the PFL would appreciate the return of its fiver donated to the earlier cause, with interest. We never published the full story, did we..?
beneficium accipere libertatem est vendere