the voice: Mark, firstly, congratulations on getting the new job. Have you got used to the idea yet you won't be working in a local office any more?
Mark: Yes, but I'll be sad to leave the DSS. I've enjoyed working in five different offices in England and Wiles over the last 21 years. I've made many friends and acquaintances over that time. However, I'm eagerly anticipating the challenges that lie in front of me and to working to improve members' conditions.
the voice: What do you feel are the main issues for DSS members at the moment?
Mark: Obviously the advent of the Working Age Agency means we must try and ensure members' conditions are improved. At the same time, the bits of DSS not going to the WAA need to have their conditions improved too. Particularly pay, which is too low, the progression system and performance pay - which I want to see eradicated.
|The new WAA gives us a chance to restate our position and seek improvements. We need to build on early moves to clear up uncertainties for staff.
Specifically in the WAA, I was pleased the conference at the end of January addressed health and safety, pay and grading and industrial relations.
the voice: What three areas of the DSS do you think are priorities?
Mark: This relates to the previous question. The obvious three are pay, working conditions and staffing levels.
the voice: You stated in your election address you believed in annual elections for full time staff Does that mean you will be putting yourself up for re-election in a year?
Mark: I'm committed to all lay and senior full time officials being annually elected. However, at the moment the majority union policy doesn't agree with this. I will be at the
|forefront of trying to change current policy, but until then feel I should accept the current circumstances.
the voice: You have been candid in your criticisms of a number of parts of the union in recent years. How will you deal with this now?
Mark: I feel my criticisms have only been when the union has not followed policies agreed at conference. During my term of office I'll do all I can to ensure every part of the union implements the democratically agreed policies of the union.
the voice: What do you hope to do in your first year?
Mark: I want to see early progress on national pay bargaining. I want a national pay campaign this year too. We need to campaign to stop any privatisation threats, and I think the public profile of the union needs increasing too.
I am confident, if all parts of the union work together, we can make a difference to the working life of members.