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ROUND AND ABOUT
By Judas Iscariot
- September 2014

The garrison appears to have been thoroughly on the alert and are to be congratulated on the stout defence they put up, and upon their courageous endurance which enabled them to man their defences immediately the hostile bombardment lifted. It is this soldierly behaviour, coupled with expert use of rifles and machine guns, which constitutes our real safety. Please have the garrison congratulated for me on their defence.

Lincolnshire Regt Corps Commander report May 1918

There’s an air of fatalism in the trenches as the troops drift back to their dugouts. Some spent their leave to make the most of the glorious summer while others continued on a futile quest to find employment outside the civil service. Nobody expects much to come from the July strike or from the one to follow on 14th October apart from an even more relentless drive by the Government for more and more cuts in the run-up to the May 2015 general election.

The big Summer Push in July did little to rekindle the optimism of the activists who held the line through thick and thin in the past.  Of course they delivered in July. But that didn’t take much given the general lower-caste anger at cuts, increased work-loads and miserable pay awards. Over 24 per cent of the membership, a surprisingly high turn-out, overwhelmingly voted to join in the public service workers mass strike that was led by Unison and backed by fellow giant, Unite. On the day over half the membership walked out along with local government workers, fire-fighters and teachers to give the Cameron Government another bloody nose. But few really think that it will make one iota of difference as far as our own pay claim goes and as for strengthening our bargaining position – that would be all very well if any real bargaining was actually taking place.

To be fair not all of this can be blamed on MAREK or the grandee leadership. The Tory-led Coalition turned its back on civil service trade unionism a long, long time ago and it’s not going to change track in the run-up to next year’s general election. But when it comes the Tories and their Liberal Democrat allies are going to lose big-time – largely in favour of Labour, now the odds-on favourite to win the 2015 poll. And everybody knows that the Unison and Unite game is to rally their troops for a Miliband victory, raise loads of money for Labour’s election campaign and make it clear to Ed Balls that they will expect a reasonable quid pro quo from the new Labour government.

Unfortunately this is a game that SERWOTKA and the grandees don’t play and won’t play. Instead they’re chasing the impossible dream of a radical alternative to Labour (Either in support of TUSC under a number of titles that are permutations of “Left”, “Socialist”, “Marxist”, “Alliance” or “Alternative” or in support of old no-hopers like the COMMISSARS and the SOCIALIST WANKERS. There’s no avenue, open or covert, to the Labour biggies who will be administering the service next year if all goes well for them. This is from the same people that wanted us to merge with UNITE and all it stands for apart from the key policy towards Labour that brings it back into tandem with UNISCUM whenever  the chips are down.

The UNITE take-over was, fortunately, killed at Conference of May this year and finally laid to rest at the UNITE bash a month later. Though the COMMISSARS had been the major cheer-leaders for the UNITE take-over at the death it merited just six lines in the Morning Star – four more however than what appeared in report of the UNITE conference in the SOCIALIST, the grandee rag of choice.

JOHN McINALLY was, arguably, the most vocal grandee tub-thumper in favour of the UNITE take-over in articles and openings that cumulated in a cringe-making rant at Conference that may have tipped some of the undecided into the NO camp. CHRIS BAUGH, on the other hand, played the statesman. And though LEON may not have planned it this way he’s now on track for the greatest prize of his life.

All General Secretaries are required by law to be subject to election after five years and the call for nominations starts this week. All candidates must have nominations from at least 15 PCS branches which rules out 4TM for starters. The INDEPENDENT LEFT and the SOCIALIST WANKERS could do it but probably won’t. The SWP wants to keep its niche in the BIG TENT while TROTSKY’S INDEPENDENT TRADERS would be ill-advised to stand on their own against our great and glorious leader. So SERWOTKA will get a shoo-in for another five years. Or will he?

MAREK is waiting for a heart-transplant and most patients accepted on to a transplant waiting list have an expected survival of 50 per cent or less over the following two years.

Sadly, due to the pressure in his lungs he can’t actually have a transplant, for at least the next two, maybe three years and is being kept alive by a battery powered VAD (left-ventricular-assist device). http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/05/mark-serwotka-pcs-read-on-twitter-i-was-dead

Even when he gets the transplant that he needs, despite immunosuppression, the immune system will eventually affect the donor heart.  This usually manifests as a form of coronary artery disease (obstruction to blood flow in the donor heart).  It is uncommon in the first few years but is the most important problem after ten years.  It is often widespread and rarely amenable to treatment by surgery. While a second transplant is possible, it is an option that is available to very few.

So while it is quite possible for some-one to return to work within six months of a heart transplant most opt for early retirement. And if MAREK retires soon after his operation, and who can blame him, BOFF will be the obvious successor…

Blackpool Boff

Old news from the Department of Health. Back in 2007 a sinister plot was hatched by the wily old fox sometimes known as the Grand Wizard (sadly now no longer with us), or just plain old DTUS President to his close friends. The objective was to gain status recognition for the big three (DTUS President, DTUS Senior Negotiator and PCS Health Group President) by way of a bit of grade inflation.
 
As they say timing is everything and an opportunity arose due to changes in the pay and grading system in DH (reverting back from paybands to old fashioned civil service grades) with all staff in the Department given the chance to apply to have their existing posts re-graded/upgraded via a streamlined fast track JEGs process.

The wily old fox saw an opportunity for the big three to enhance their status with the help of the employer. He had already tested his Machiavellian skills out by gaining rapid promotion for one of the big three through skillful negotiations with senior HR management in DH creating an HEO post out of elected  PCS Health Group President for the existing AO – initial honing of skills. Now it was time to go for gold. The Fox led the merry band with himself going for G7 realignment for his own existing SEO substantive grade. The other two elected roles - DTUS “Senior Negotiator” (an invented role) a substantive HEO at the time and the PCS Health Group President (HEO since fast track promotion from AO to HEO leapfrogging the EO grade) were submitted for re-grading. The other two PCS members saw their chance for advancement to the next (SEO) grade. All busily prepared their fast track business cases - no need to inform the BECs or GEC who might scupper the plan - and then submitted their cases to the JEGs panel and waited. Lo and behold all three were successful in the upgrades in an amazing result where the majority of staff had their own fast track JEGs applications rejected or referred for a full JEGs exercise. A master stroke in manipulation of HR management for self-advancement for those within the magic circle.

However, the plan could still have faced opposition from the branches and be derailed. Some voices were raised in the DH London Branch and at the GEC but The Wizard had planned for such opposition gaining the support of key members of the mythical “northern alliance” in placed at the time on the GEC to dampen down opposition to the grand plan. The DH Facilities Time Agreement made no mention of elected TU posts being permanently “graded” (or “upgraded”).  In effect The Wizard had got the deal done with HR senior management so any objections raised by reps from PCS branches could be swept aside with ease. A master class in advancing self-interest over and above the members – sorcery indeed! All three posts were upgraded resulting in 100% success for the DTUS compared with the majority of staff/PCS members who failed to make the grade (excuse the pun). Must have cast a spell on DH HR.

A great example of advancement of self-serving interests within a minor oligarchical bureaucracy. Robert Michels had a word to say about such things...

Michels insisted that the chasm separating elite leaders from rank-and-file members would also steer organizations toward strategic moderation, as key organizational decisions would ultimately be taken more in accordance with leaders’ self-serving priorities of organizational survival and stability than demands.  
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/294472/iron-law-of-oligarchy
 
For Old Timers JIM HANSON and GORDON PATERSON life goes on in the same old way. The two veterans of the old JOCKOCRACY celebrated their 50th birthdays in the usual way on the Terrace of the House of Commons, courtesy of their new boss MICK McCANN, the Labour MP and fellow JOCKOCRAT who is now the honourable member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow in Scotland. It started at 10 am and carried on until midnight, so no change there. Of course, the only Jock out of these who gets a vote in the referendum as he lives in Caledonia is MICK – and he’s a vehement NO man – he ken’s which side his bread is buttered. (I seemed to imply HANSON was a JOCK. He’s not, but joins in their drinking with gusto.)

And now for some TUC news from Liverpool where some of the PCS delegation are making history:

Paula Brown & Gordon Brown (Albert) Albert and License in giant slippers License

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
the more things change, the more they stay the same
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
1808-1890