Friday 6 February 2015

ATUC condemns union busting at the heart of government

Aberdeen Trades Union Council has thrown its full weight behind the PCS union in its campaign against this UK Government’s union busting tactics in the civil service.  Delegates at the meeting on 4th Feb condemned the slashing of facilities time for union reps by more than 60% and the ending of “check-off” – the decades old method through which employers collect union subscriptions direct from a member’s salary.

The ATUC called on the Labour Party to publicly pledge to reinstate check-off in the civil service if elected and to legislate for a statutory right for union members to have their subscriptions deducted through their salary.
Delegates will also email their MPs in support of the PCS (see model wording below) and called on the TUC, the STUC and all affiliates to give their full support to the fight against these union busting tactics.

Brian Carroll
Brian Carroll, PCS member and ATUC delegate said, “These actions by this Tory led government are a blatant attempt to undermine the organisation, membership and finances of the civil service unions and in particular the largest union, the PCS.
"This has forced the PCS to sign over to direct debit more than 150,000 of its members in just a few months. It risks leaving members without union protection and the union losing millions in funds. No UK union has faced such a mammoth task in such a short space of time,

“Add to this leaked plans to marginalise PCS in HM Revenue and Customs, cut facilities time even more and set up a rival staff association. It is nothing less than an attempt to union bust at the heart of government, and in particular to undermine the PCS – a union that has consistently opposed cuts to pay, pensions, jobs and services and has resisted privatisation and austerity,” slammed Brian.
Alan Robertson, ATUC President added, “If the government succeeds with their plans, it will give the green light to public and private sector employers to remove check-off arrangements so we must stop this at all costs.”

MODEL WORDING FOR LETTER OR EMAIL Please cut and paste and adapt for your use.
I am writing to draw your attention to the actions of senior management in government departments, acting in accordance with the instructions of Cabinet Office Ministers, to undermine independent trade unionism in the civil service. In particular, I refer to the attacks on PCS Union.
I am asking for your support for independent trade unions, adequate time for union reps to represent their members and the retention of the check-off facility and would  ask you, as my local MP, to write to Frances Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, and ask that he withdraws his call for government departments to end check-off.
The UK civil service has recognised independent trade unions for nearly a century. The recognition of independent representatives of employees is an important part of our democracy. The example set by government in its treatment of its own employees is particularly important as it sends a message to all other employers, public as well as private, about how they should behave.
Other parts of the public sector may well be targeted for anti-trade union activities should Ministers be successful in the civil service.
Led by the Cabinet Office, government departments have cut facility time by 60%, and many are trying to end “check-off”, the decades old method through which employers collect union subscriptions direct from a memberssalary. Large departments have given civil service unions just three months notice of the withdrawal of check-off, in an attempt to undermine union membership and finance.
In HM Revenue and Customs a leaked management memo showed that there were secret plans to marginalise PCS as part of a deeply concerning political approach to industrial relations. Recently, the Home Office served an injunction on PCS on the spurious grounds of national security to prevent the union publicising the effects of government cuts in the UK Border Agency.
These are not the actions of a good employer, but are politically inspired attempts to undermine independent trade unions at the very heart of government.
I look forward to hearing from you.