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ROUND AND ABOUT
by Judas Iscariot - Early May 2014

We are now back having a rest and are living in tents, it's awful cold washing in the morning. A German aeroplane flew over here a few mornings ago and dropped some quite good bombs doubtless they hoped and meant to cause no small panic and destruction. At first I thought they were shells and I was just putting on my shirt when one came down nearer than the others had been and I realised it was a bomb. I took off my shirt and got back into my sleeping bag, after all if one is destined to be killed by one of those clumsy muck dropping fools it might just as well be in one's bed. They only bagged one horse.

Summer is a coming in and the sun is out dispelling the gloom about ever more cuts in the offing and another impending war on the Continent that could tip the whole of Europe into an even deeper recession. But down in the trenches we are wearily packing their bags for what will, almost certainly, be the last PCS Conference we will ever see.

And though we’re down for the best part of a week in Brighton we might just as well push off after the Unite motions are passed on Wednesday because everything will be subsumed by overall policies of the Unite leadership when we become part of the giant union next year. Motions A21 to 23 are full of the usual guff about creating a “new, powerful force for fighting back trade unionism in the public sector capable of shifting the current passive approach of the other unions which led to the squandering of the momentum generated by the joint union action over pensions... in 2011”. No other argument is used to justify what is essentially a Unite takeover.

When the idea was first seriously mooted three years ago we were told that PCS’s dire financial straits, due largely to the full-time officers pension scheme, could only be resolved through a bail-out merger. That was evidently correct because Unite bottled out when they had a look at the books.

Last year LEON BAUGH told Conference that most of our money problems had been overcome. That, you would think, should have guaranteed PCS’s continued independence. In fact all it did was embolden the grandees to resume their crawling to Unite to get terms far worse than those that were on the table two years ago.

There was little in it for PCS then apart from guaranteeing the full-time officers gravy train and the unwritten promise that MARK SERWOTKA would get the Unite supremo’s job when LEN McCLUSKEY retired. Most of PCS would be subsumed as one more industrial sector, probably the existing MOD & Government Departments sector within the UNITE colossus in exchange for a handful of seats on the NEC. The “commercial” i.e privatised companies whom PCS represents would be slotted into other existing sections of Unite with a bi-annual weekend conference of about 80 delegates, alternating with the bi-annual Unite National conference. There’s even less now.

SERWOTKA isn’t going to get LEN’s job now. McCLUSKEY extended his tenure when the original deal fell apart and there’s plenty more trusties able and willing to take his place from within his own ruling UNITED LEFT faction when he does eventually go. And apart from anything else, MAREK’S chronic heart condition and rumours of further heart surgery, would seem to rule him out on medical grounds.

And while UNITE’S millions will ensure that our full-timers can sleep safely in their beds assured of the fact that their juicy salaries and lucrative careers will continue there’s no similar guarantee for the admin workers at Falconcrest when the inevitable rationalisation and relocation begins that has to happen to make it worth it worthwhile. Falconcrest is ring-marked for the pension fund whatever happens once the existing staff are “relocated” or “rationalised” it could easily replace an existing UNITE building which could then be sold for a fat profit.

UNITE is a wealthy union but it has problems not dissimilar to our own.  It is, indeed, the biggest union in the land with some 1.4 million members, a notch above UNISON which claims 1.3 million – though the UNISON vultures claim UNITE’S figures are inflated because they take all retired members into the membership count. UNITE’S cash in hand is quite healthy at £34 million and they are running a small operating surplus on their current income/expenditure.

But UNITE also has to make £12m of payments into their pension fund every year for the next decade. Furthermore, in April 2013 the union lost some £8 million in income from legal services when personal injury referral fees were outlawed.

In 2008 UNITE had £225 million in their general fund. In 2013 that figure was £13 million. In 2008 its pension liability was £52.09 million. In 2013 that figure was £144 million. In 2008 UNITE’S total assets were £178.5 million. Last year that figure stood at £41.9 million.

Then there’s the democratic deficit. UNITE is not an undemocratic union but its rules are tailored to meet the needs of the large engineering, print and electricians unions that are the core of its membership. All these industrial sectors are governed by negotiating agreements and procedures agreed over the years with their mainly private employers. All PCS can bring to the table is what’s left of a “Whitley” system and a subs flow dependent on a check-off system that the current Government seems determined to annul before the general election next year.

The decision-making processes and the interface with the rank-and-file within UNITE revolves around their existing work-place agreements. The union’s national strategy is to use its massive contributions to the Labour Party to win concessions from Labour in power on the general direction of the economy while leaving negotiations on pay and conditions to the sectors to thrash out with their individual employers as they have done in the past. This is a model which works for them, and for UNISON for that matter, but it’s not a model that can easily be applied to civil service workers. But it will be, lock, stock and barrel, if the take-over goes ahead.

At a meeting of the Unite Special Executive on 17th April 2014 the terms for a “transfer of engagements” (i.e. a takeover rather than a merger) from PCS to UNITE was discussed. LEN McCLUSKEY presented the following report:

Following a decision of the Executive Council, informal talks have been taking place with PCS on exploring a transfer of that union’s engagements into Unite.

Unite’s team has included the Chair of the Executive Council, executive officers and senior lay colleagues.  PCS’s team has been led by its General Secretary and has included lay EC members.  The talks have covered the constitutional, industrial, political and administrative questions which would arise from joining Unite.

Separately, the Executive Director for Finance has met his opposite number at PCS to consider financial, pension and property issues.

On this basis, there seems to be no impediment to opening formal talks on a transfer of engagements which would bring PCS into Unite.  Specifically:

No significant revision of Unite’s rules would be required and the transfer of engagements will be on the basis of our existing rule book.

Subject to the resolution of pensions issues between PCS and the Pensions Regulator, there are no obvious financial issues that would obstruct a transfer (due diligence will nevertheless have to be completed before any final agreement is brought before the Council).

No change to Unite’s political affiliations will be sought or considered in the context of the formal discussions

Short-term transitional arrangements will suffice to ensure the full and complete integration of the PCS membership into Unite’s existing structures

In this context, and bearing in mind the significant industrial, organisational and political advantages that would accrue to Unite as a result of such a transfer, in terms above all of the consolidation of fighting trade unionism across the public sector, it is recommended that authority be given to open formal talks with PCS to that end.

There’s a similar problem with the factions inside UNITE. The union is dominated by the UNITED LEFT which has 43 seats on the Executive. This is McCLUSKEY’S own faction and our LUNITY grandees would soon feel at home within it. The UL is supported and staffed by LEN’S own followers within and without the LABOUR PARTY along with those of the SOCIALIST PARTY and the COMMISSARS.

Perhaps the PCS DEMOCRATS could join the rival UNITE NOW, a mainstream LABOUR bloc which holds 11 EC seats, or even run as “Independents” – there’s 8  local “favoured sons” on the current EC. The INDEPENDENT LEFTS could possibly link up to the GRASSROOTS LEFT,  which is led by maverick TROT JERRY HICKS, who is backed by the SOCIALIST WANKERS and comes nowhere in the polls Needless to say there’s no place whatsoever for whatever’s left of 4TM!

Disturbingly candidates were returned unopposed in 25 of the 63 seats, and 21 of these were United Left candidates. And membership interest in national elections is even lower than our own miserable standards. This year it ranged from 3.2 per cent to 9 per cent, roughly a third lower than last time.

Meanwhile SCPS old-timers will be pleased note that ALAN ENGLAND, the cranky high-caste bore who helped set up the original MEMBERSHIP FIRST, is hot on the campaign trail for the European elections. The old git left the Labour Party after concluding that Labour “no longer represented him as an older, white, English male” and he’s now the lead candidate in the forthcoming Euro election for the English Democrats in the South West Region. See for yourself here:

http://englishdemocrats.org.uk/latest-news/item/383-alan/383-alan.html

While not in the FARAGE league the English Democrats are certainly on the far side of the political spectrum. It’s perhaps no surprising to not that 43 per cent of English Democrats candidates in the 2012 local elections were former BNP members.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

St Paul


ON OTHER PAGES - BY BARRABAS

Oklahoma to introduce 'Death by Idiom' ?

Following the furore regarding the botched Clayton Lockett execution, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has announced they intend to eshew the use of lethal injections, and have set up a new Department of Investigative Immolation to identify alternative methods of state-sanctioned termination.

The DII will examine a number of alternate methods, but the most intriguing area of investigation is the possibility of validating common everyday phrases associated with death.

"There are a number of idioms in this area that we can now examine" enthused newly-appointed Research Executionist Tod Helfer, "For example : Is it actually possible to kill someone with kindness ? Can you really die of shame ? Is excessive embarrassment truly a life threatening condition ? Once and for all, we will be able to empirically test these statements under laboratory conditions on live subjects"

The worryingly-effervescent Mr Helfer continued in a similar vein, speculating whether Death By Chocolate could ever be proved : does eating 17 cabbages really cause you to die from toxic overload, and would this constitute the most boring Last Meal menu choice ever ?

"Just think" continued Mr Helfer "A simple phrase such as 'Dying by Degrees' - we have never known whether it refers to Fahrenheit, Celsius, rotational measurement or something underhand involving a well-known Philadelphia female vocal group. Now we will get a chance to find out "

"And if all else fails, as a last resort we can always shoot the bastards"

Cornwall turns out to be a real place

Much to the surprise of cartographers, scientists and pasty lovers, the EU has confirmed that the ‘bit that stops Devon getting too wet’ is not just a fairy story told to children to warn about the perils of a dairy-fat diet. Contrary to popular belief and tax-returns, Cornwall is actually a ‘non-fictional’ landmass and is populated by indigenous bipeds, whose DNA comprises of 38% whortleberry pie.

Along with Brigadoon, Social Equality and the G-spot, Cornwall was previously thought to be an imaginary locale – declared a Duchy by George III during one of his ‘less lucid moments’. The legend goes that Truro was a ‘lost city’ situated at the heart of Earth's clotted cream core. There the dark elves, condemned souls and Lib Dems would feast upon ‘gerty milk’, Ginsters and ‘toe nail clippings’. Only when under the influence of eight pints of cider could a human see these mythic creatures and their damp home. Every so often ‘when the moon was full’, Dorset virgins would be carried off into the night by piskies to be plied with saffron cake, dirty limericks and ‘the juice of the little people’ (‘pobel vean’).

Cornish folklore, or ‘Ye olde Tourist Trap’ as it is sometimes referred to in the glossy brochures, speaks of the country’s founding by Corineus as a ‘ponzi scheme gone wrong’. The 'droll tellers' often sing of the birthplace King Arthur which coincidently doubles as the final resting place for ‘the concept of a sunny British holiday’. They also sing the sad lament of Bucca - the Spirit of the Sea – who will only allow the water to be ‘one degree above’ freezing point. Many drivers towing caravans were afraid to go too far down the A30 in case they fell off the edge of the world, while in search of Cornwall. Luckily, most never get far enough to find out, and turn back, their sense of adventure thwarted. Unfortunately Peter Jackson has already dismissed plans to film his next fantasy franchise there, as ‘too implausibly twee’.

European rules will grant the Cornish people minority status and all the same rights as ‘other small mammals’. A spokesman for Communities Minister Stephen Williams confirmed: ‘The Cornish will receive funding to protect against assimilation, hygiene and liking the English’. They will also gain the same status as other Celtic communities – with their own ‘embarrassing Eurovision entry’, ‘spurious scrabble words’ and ‘absence from World Cup football finals’.

Dad's Army remake to be set in Ukraine.

BBC blame autocue after announcing death of the man who rogered a rabbi.

Good Friday to be extended by an hour, in memory of Bob Hoskins.

Don Quixote admits he was "heavily outnumbered" in fight with wind farm.


The BBC’s iconic monolith ‘Jezza’ is in danger of collapsing due to its ‘feet of clay’ and ‘teeny, weeny, tiny, toe’ say experts.clarkson

The alabastard figure is currently on display in the new Broadcasting House main foyer, but many fear that its instability could bring the whole building crashing about it.

‘In layman’s terms, he’s crumbling under his own weight,’ said one BBC restorer. ‘As each year passes, his feet cannot support the twist and turns of his top-heavy pose. We’ve tried filling him in every time he cracks up, but almost immediately another fault appears. Immensely popular antiquated figures like Jezza have to be treated with kid gloves; it’s almost as if they have a mind of their own. That’s not the BBC way.’

However this view is contradicted by spokesman for preservation society ‘The Friends of Jezza’, James May. ‘He really hasn’t got a nasty bone in his body. In fact, he has no bones. He’s an icon for godssake,’ said May. ‘He is mighty, he is virile, he is a symbol of all things manly, he is … oh OK, he’s just a massive cock.’

A worried BBC insider commented; ‘We’re all petrified. Jezza may be an institutional icon, but as time goes on the more unstable he becomes. He could go at any time, bringing my pension down with him.’