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ROUND AND ABOUT
by Judas Iscariot - OCTOBER 02

The Pathfinder dispute goes national - but it was a close-run thing with the NEC overturning the National Disputes Committee sell-out decision by 18 votes to 13. The NDC, down one because Lunity Presidential hopeful JANICE GODRICH had decided not to cancel a pre-booked overseas holiday, voted to accept a woefully inadequate Management offer which did not even go half-way to meeting the union's demands. Though there were some cosmetic changes and a few minor concessions Management rejected the central call for a screened reception in the new offices.

CHURCHYARD called for acceptance arguing that this was the best that could be obtained under the circumstances - a predictable response from a professional negotiator, which reflects his approach when he led all the talks for CPSA. He was backed by Moderati supremo BLOBBY CURRIE and Me Firster LES PRIESTLEY but opposed by PETER DONNELLAN.

But it was a different matter on the NEC. DONNELLAN and SARAH JONES had swayed UNDY and Me First with the exception of PRIESTLEY closed ranks with LUNITY to support the membership-endorsed extended action. The Moderati with the exception of PHIL EASTON, who took the principled stand and voted with the majority, opposed this.

The Moderati move may well cost them dearly in next years elections. Though some of them are already trotting out the usual arguments…'reasonable offer'…'union could be bankrupted in an open-ended strike'…and so on, many suspect that RAMSBLADDER was in favour of acceptance in order to get more brownie points from Blair and Brown when he goes crawling for his next sinecure. It failed to convince Me First, with the sole exception of PRIESTLEY. His indifference to anything outside Revenue and his fear that there'll be no money left if and when his own section is forced to take similar action was probably uppermost in his thinking.

Me First's stand reflects the growing dissatisfaction with the way the talks have been handled and already there are calls for the negotiation team to be upgraded. In practice this would mean a team headed by GS-elect MAREK SERWOTKA (who's been working like a Trojan for the success of the action) plus possibly DONNELLAN, the chief lay representative of PTC.

Management is still determined to beat the union down. They will first of all hope for a lukewarm response from the other offices in the first week. If that doesn't happen they still think they can bleed the union to death in a long and costly strike.

The dispute is eminently winnable, and an advertising campaign in the national press is to be launched next week. The only way for those currently with their snouts in the trough to continue wallowing after the elections next year is to do what they were elected to do in the first place and actually back the smellysocks members in dispute.