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ROUND AND ABOUT
by JUDAS ISCARIOT - Late March 2009

The first winds of spring rustle through the barbed wire heralding the long hot summer we hope is coming to compensate for the dark days we've put up with along the front-line this winter. But it's almost like peace-time in the trenches with the old-timers getting their hand in a round of cards, or maybe darts and snooker while the younger element catch up on their computer games. But in the darker recesses of the mess-rooms another old game is being played because it's balloting time.

Happy days or maybe not for the SOCIALIST WANKERS who are in turmoil following their ousting from RESPECT by the great GEORGE GALLOWAY that was blamed on JOHN REES and LINDSEY GERMAN, who in turn got the Order of the Boot from the SWP's national leadership. Our own ANDY REID (SRU Westminster VO), who sits on the NEC by the grace and favour of the grandees, failed to get elected to the SWP National Council though ANNA (the Mouth) OWENS kept the flag by amending their "National Perspectives" document - the annual rant from the leadership - to slag off the grandee leadership for calling off the Poppy Day offensive last year. Membership figures told an interesting story. In 2007 only one PCS member joined the SWP but last year eleven apparently signed up. Who and where would be interesting to know. They've got no-one in London DWP since PHIL PARDOE and TANSY FELTIS left and many of us think the SOCIALIST WANKERS are now extinct in the Greater London area of PCS . A small reserve is believed to exist in Oxford but they may be too small to successfully breed.

PHIL PARDOE left last year for the happier climes of the NUT, an irrelevant teacher's union that suits him down to a tee, which is fast becoming the last refuge for Trot has-beens who can't stand the heat in Falconcrest. The universally hated National Organiser and lothario, NIGEL VENES, will soon be joining him. His unique talent was to unite everyone in loathing of him and he will not be missed.

NICK CLARK, the diminutive policy adviser to the General Secretary is poncing off to become a "fellow" at some London University and MARTIN JOHN is widely tipped to get his desk. JOHN has already been seconded to SERWOTKA's office and looks well placed when the job is advertised.

Grown men were reported to have wept this week as STELLA DENNIS was appointed DWP Group Secretary proving yet again it ain't what you know, it's who you know. SENNA THE SOOTHSAYER takes up post immediately.

Apparently, there are industrial relations problems in the PCS Glasgow office. Tommy Sheridan's ex-PA has raised grievances and there have been counter grievances lodged. A GMB rep from London has been sent to investigate.

Though EDDY SPENCE's farewell London beano was a wash-out (see PFL passim) many of his old chums crept out of the woodwork for his repeat performance in Liverpool. CHRIS DOUGLAS (late of DWP) and GEOFF BYRNE (Mendicant star on standing orders) were there along with DAVE SAN , another CPSA Mendicant back in the 1980s. Sad to say the former firebrand sold-out long ago and he's now a high-caste GRADE 6 in HMRC. No Mendicant old comrades' bash would be the same without DOREEN PURVIS - now planning to carve a new career in the wrinklies Associate and Retired Members Society (ARMS) along with TERRY MARTIN, who has bizarrely re-invented herself as a bereavement counsellor.

The row in MOD, exclusively reported by yours truly in last month's communiqué, has now turned into open warfare. ANDY GILBERTSON, ROBERT JACK and CALUM CAMPBELL have been purged by MOD Lunity for putting their names forward against the LU slate in the GEC elections while others have been told to keep their mouths shut by MOD grandees JIM WILLIAMSON and ALAN DENNIS who say:

"Equally, it is worth reiterating that LU internal 'business' should remain exactly that, internal. Whilst it is clear that most LU members understand and adhere to that key principal, it has also become clear, following recent incidents (including an article on the PFL website), that individuals outside of LU are aware of internal arguments and issues and are only too keen to reveal them to a wider audience. Careless talk costs votes (and damages our credibility)!"

There is a distinct possibility that at least two MOD GEC officers (LU members) will be reported to JANICE GODRICH (and in one case, MOD management) for serious breaches of confidence. They have been widely spreading tales that three PCS MOD Group activists are being investigated for financial irregularities. One of these GEC officers also happens to be the first line manager to one of the three concerned and, as such, has broken Civil Service regulations on the confidentiality between a manager and his staff, which could attract a disciplinary charge of gross misconduct from the Department.

Make the most of Brighton this year - it may be your last. The redevelopment of the Brighton Centre could start this year and there's no alternative venue in town. PCS had always intended to return to Bournemouth but the new conference centre is, apparently, smaller than the one they tore down and it can no longer accommodate main conference. Fear not - the best brains at Falconcrest have come up with three alternative venues. They are in LIVERPOOL, GLASGOW and the north Wales seaside resort of RHYL. The Glasgow conference centre looks like a converted aircraft hanger and delegates will have to be warned not to wear blue or green outside conference unless they actually are RANGERS or CELTIC fans or can handle themselves. LIVERPOOL 's centre has yet to be built and RHYL's only claim to fame is that it is the birth-place of RUTH ELLIS, the last woman to be hanged in 1955.

Est autem fides credere quod nondum vides; cuius fidei merces est videre quod credis

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.

St Augustine of Hippo

354 - 430 AD


First draft of latest issue of "INFORMED - News from the NEC" before it was tidied up.

We have recently concluded intensive talks with the Cabinet Office and the Treasury about the many outstanding issues from our dispute last autumn with the Government. Members will recall that we reached agreement with the employer on a number of important issues, mainly opening up talks on issues hitherto closed to us.

We entered these talks in constructive and optimistic spirit intent on reaching agreement, if that were at all possible. We knew that some of the agreements needed to be tested in practice to see if ways could be found at departmental level to implement some of the commitments made by the employer nationally.

In particular in the key area of Pay, we have been engaged in protracted talks on the Treasury's Pay Remit Guidance and on the scope for recycling efficiency savings into pay for members' pockets.

The NEC has considered the negotiators reports and challenged them to spell out in a number of key areas what the outcome means for members.

We are pleased to advise that substantial agreement has been reached in three key areas:

We have succeeded in full in achieving our long-term demand for pay increases to match the true rate of inflation that members live with. We have a commitment from the Government that headline pay increase this year will achieve a level not lower than the Retail Price Index measure of inflation. This is expected to be -0.7% in July, translating into a pay cut for an average EO on their max of about £130 a magnificent achievement.

On pay increases funded by efficiency savings, we have agreed to accelerate the office closure programme in HMRC and re-open the JSP programme in DWP. Between them we expect to be able to pay a recyclables bonus of £150 to all civil servants. Members will appreciate that as these savings are one-offs they cannot be consolidated into basic pay.

There have evident strains in recent years on the PCSPS and the government's continuing ability to maintain its commitment to the full range of its financial undertakings. Rather than consider detailed reduction in benefits or entitlements, we have agreed a tax efficient annual top-up funding bonus payable by all members of £20.

Taking these three key achievements together we judge that next year you will see a pay rise of about 5p.

In all negotiations there are the successes, as outlined above, and the achievements that have yet to be made. In the latter category have fallen a number of our aims:

Regional Pay given the Government's commitment to the devolved assemblies, staff on Civil Service terms in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will now be covered in separate Pay funding arrangements with the devolved assemblies.

Working hours one of the effects of global warming will be that temperatures will rise and summers become longer and winters shorter. Daylight hours will generally be longer. A modest contribution from Civil Servants to combat global warming will be to extend their working time by one hour a day in the seven months of April to Octobers inclusive. There will, of course be scope for local negotiation whether this will be done at the beginning, middle or end of the working day, or a balance between the three options. This is a change to conditioned hours, not pay.

Annual Leave associated too with global warming are limitations on the taking of annual leave at the times of school holidays. Successful trial arrangements tested in Call Centres in HMRC will be extended nationally, namely that on hours work-place attendance will be required each Wednesday morning that a week's leave is taken when there is an R in the month.

The NEC is conscious that the principle rules call for changes to members' terms and conditions to be subject to a ballot of all members. However the NEC is also conscious that after ten years of waiting, members will feel that these clear victories will receive such widespread support that running a ballot would represent wasteful expenditure of money when important things like trips to Venezuela have to be funded. Thus no ballot will be held and standing orders committee have helpfully indicated that any motion to conference requiring one will be X-marked as contrary to NEC policy.

Thank you for your continued support.


Formula 1 Announces Exciting New Package

At a press conference in London today, Bernie Ecclestone announced a range of measures to improve the commercial appeal of Formula 1.

“In these days of economic recession” he said “it is important that F1 appeals to as many people around the world as possible. A survey conducted by industry experts has shown that increasingly the world of F1 is becoming remote and elitist, and the common people are becoming more and more disillusioned with the sport”.

“Therefore, I am very excited to announce a raft of measures that will bring F1 back into the public domain. Negotiations with all the participating countries are at an advanced stage, but I can today reveal some of these improvements to the 2009 F1 season”.

“In England there will be a number of new features. ITV have agreed to produce a new program called ‘Britain’s Got the Lollipop Factor’. Lollipop ladies from throughout the land will compete in a series of rigorous and humorous tasks, and the winning person will perform lollipop duties at Silverstone at pre-determined intervals during the British Grand Prix. The BBC will have a similar, but obviously not very similar, competition called ‘Wonder Wardens’. Local authorities in Britain will be invited to nominate Traffic Wardens to participate in the competition, and the 2 winning wardens will patrol the pit lane during the race. Any team whose pit-stop lasts longer than 15 seconds will be issued with a parking ticket, which will help generate income for our beleaguered organisation. The safety car will be replaced by a tractor towing a wagon-load of hay, there will be police speed traps at the end of the main straight, and The Caravan Club has agreed to provide vehicles to make the whole spectacle much more British”.

“In France negotiations are in an advanced state to combine the French Grand Prix with one of the stages of the Tour de France, and dozens of weaving men on old bikes will add interest to the race”.

“In Spain we have been in touch with Pamplona District Council, and they have agreed to organise their famous bull run around the track during the Spanish Grand Prix”.

“American truckers are on stand-by to provide a convoy of brightly-coloured 56-ton articulated lorries, and Canada will cover their track in 18 inches of snow just before the start of the Canadian race.”

“Brazil have agreed that the Sao Paolo track will make an excellent venue for a street carnival, and that the racing cars will not spoil the fun”.

“The German Grand Prix will be switched to October, and the track lined with beer-swilling dancers”.

“All in all, I think you will agree that the measures, together with those being negotiated with other countries, will ensure the continued success of F1”

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, who attended the press conference, then said “ I am very excited about these proposals. In these times of economic difficulties, it is good to see an entrepreneur like Bernie who is prepared to take the bull by the horns and forge ahed. At the end of the day, Mr. Ecclestone is someone that we can all look up to”.