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BY JUDAS ISCARIOT - mid October 2005 Part 1

Management scouts have been probing our trenches on all fronts this week hoping that the imposed Home Office pay settlement and the sectional divide over pay between IR and Customs will paralyse other key sections of the membership while they concentrate their big guns on the DWP salient.

The DWP London ballot did, of course, produce a resounding yes for strike action but only amongst those who bothered to vote . The 25 per cent turn-out that resulted in 1,407 votes in favour of action and 560 against out of a possible 7,813 electorate was a bitter disappointment for the Socialist Caucus who had claimed that London members were gagging for the proposed one-day protest strike plus selective strike follow-ups. It should be borne in mind that the Yes vote is equivalent to more than the membership of 2 London Districts, and if action is called, many of those abstainers and some of the No voters will respond to the democratic will, as they have done on low polls in the past.

However, NICK GROVELMANTIS is not a happy bunny and even JACKIE DUTTON thought the result was piss-poor given that the CARCASE had seven months to prepare.

It wasn't entirely the CARCASE'S own fault. CHARLIE MCDONALD failed to turn up to the meeting arranged in Romford during the ballot as he was apparently beaten up on the bus the night before while he was pissed out of his brain. Oh, and they took his mobile which is why he couldn't ring anybody. And political tension wasn't helped by the initial omission of West London (CHRISTINE HUME's CARCASE stamping ground) from the ballot list due to the incompetent forgetfulness of one PHIL PARDOE (SWP).

 Needless to say the blame-game has started even while the GEC debates their next step.

It began during the last days of the campaign with an article by LEE ROCK in their Next Step rag claiming that this was a national dispute while ignoring the fact that only London was balloted and that was at CARCASE request. Some like TONY REAY have starting slagging off fellow comrades for not doing any serious work to get the turn-out apart from ranting at their London POLITBURO meetings. Others are pointing the finger at JOHN McINALLY and the Lunity grandees on the GEC whose alleged indifference sabotaged the vote.

The problem the CARCASE can't get their heads round is that while they clearly have more activists on the ground than what's left of the old MENDICANT crowd in London , the grandees on the GEC could see that the MACDONALD/ROCK line did not have the support of the mass of the membership.

There's no doubt that a one-day strike, or indeed a series of one-day stoppages could be won but the "discontinuous action" strategy was plainly not understood by the members, while CARCASE expectations of bumper votes in their supposed strongholds were not forthcoming.

The GEC grandees' strategy, and indeed that of the dominant bloc within the Lunity Big Tent, is basically to reach a negotiated settlement using the ballot result to bring management to the table and then to get the no compulsory redundancy deal that is the main plank of their demands while also moving on the national campaign on pensions and pay.

JANICE and SERWOTKA have no illusions about the people they're dealing with. The result of the DWP ballot was flashed contemptuously across London to all the office Managers. They've also brought Pathfinder ogre LEIGH LEWIS back in situ on a promotion which means they are gearing up for an offensive. The proof of the pudding was in Management's "offer" that was leaked by the PFL last week..

They weren't too happy about that either. PCS DWP Group Secretary KEITH WYLIE got a bollocking from Management so he told off TONY REAY who, in turn, told off thin air at this week's LRC. A great start to what looks like a short tenure on the GEC.

While the CARCASE turns to old 1970s SWP-style slogans, calling for a London or even nation-wide rank-and-file movement amongst activists from other unions, the GEC met in Leeds to agree to postpone the London strike while further talks proceed. The strike ballot remains "live" which would allow for a one-day action in November if Management doesn't come up with something better than the SAINT memorandum. The GEC has also agreed to consult branches in regional meetings about the possibility of a national strike. It appears that JOHN McINALLY'S paper was accepted unanimously.

Amoto quaeramus seria ludo

Joking aside, let us turn to serious matters

Quintus Horatius Flaccus

65 - 8 BC