On screen title: 10 years of the Public and Commercial Services Union
Voice-over: PCS has 10 years to be proud of. In this DVD we look back at our achievements, alongside memorable events of each year.
On screen: In Northern Ireland the historic Good Friday agreement was signed.
Voice-over: In March 1998 the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is formed following the merger of PTC and CPSA.
Voice-over: At the time of the merger we represent 265,000 members who work across government departments, agencies, non-departmental public bodies and privatised areas.
Voice-over: During that year 38% of civil servants were earning between 10,000 - 15,000 pounds and the number of staff in the civil service had fallen by 37% from its peak in 1976.
Voice-over: The first GCHQ rep speaks at TUC congress since the ban on unions in 1984.
On screen: In early May both the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly held historic elections, later that month the Welsh Assembly opened in Cardiff, the first for over 600 years.
Voice-over: In 1999 PCS establishes its commercial sector department which results in collective bargaining agreements in privatised areas.
On screen: The price of fuel escalates, leading to protests across the country with refineries blockaded and the supply being halted to the country’s petrol stations.
Voice-over: In 2000 Mark Serwotka is the first elected general secretary of PCS.
Mark Serwotka (voxpop): Well I think the biggest achievement we’ve made is actually we have become vibrant, active, participative union that puts its members at its heart and because of that we now have thousands of activists who have helped us delver defence of our members pensions, job security agreements and I think have actually acted as a beacon to others in the trade union movement.
Voice-over: We also demonstrate our commitment to learning by opening our first learning centre in Victoria, London.
Voice-over: In March there was is major success at an employment tribunal in ACAS v. Crossley, as a female PCS member paid lower than her male colleagues, but doing the same work, saw the tribunal decide in her favour, that she should be paid the same rate as her male counterparts.
Voice-over: This victory encourages members in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (now environment food and rural affairs) to launch an equal pay campaign.
On screen: The world is shocked in September by the appalling attacks in America that kill almost 3,000 people
On screen: In October America and the United Kingdom invade Afghanistan
Voice-over: In 2001 members in the civil service vote for a new pension scheme.
Voice-over: Members in Jobcentre Plus stage the first major strikes organised by PCS over management plans to remove safety screens that resulted in safeguards for members. Also the department for work and pensions is formed.
Voice-over: In June Labour is re-elected in the general election.
On screen: In November the first national march to raise awareness of climate change takes place.
Voice-over: In 2002, PCS members elect the first female president of the union, Janice Godrich.
Janice Godrich (voxpop): Well I stood for president of PCS after I’d been vice president for a number of years and a member of the national executive committee. I’ve enjoyed the job and that’s why I’ve stood ever since, but I think I enjoy it most because of what we’ve achieved as a union over the last ten years. And I think that those achievements really do motivate you to carry on and be involved to try and continue to build the union.
Voice-over: PCS members are victorious as the High Court upholds our right to democratically elect our general secretary.
Voice-over: We plan to build for 300,000 members.
On screen: Throughout the year there are unprecedented global protests against the war in Iraq, in March parliament votes on a motion that gives the go ahead for UK troops to invade Iraq.
Voice-over: In 2003 the PCS national pay unit is set up to monitor pay offers and provide advice to negotiators.
Voice-over: PCS establishes an international committee to develop links with public sector workers across the globe and represent our interests in the European parliament.
Voice-over: Committees for Scotland and Wales and regional committees are set up to take our campaigns out to members.
On screen: The Scottish Parliament building is opened by the Queen in October.
Voice-over: In 2004 we welcome our 300,000th member.
Voice-over: Members vote for the first time for their deputy and assistant general secretaries. Hugh Lanning and Chris Baugh are elected.
Voice-over: We start to make a bigger impact politically by setting up our parliamentary group in Westminster, over 60 cross—party MPs agree to be part of the group and campaign for PCS members in parliament.
Voice-over: Our Siemens group negotiate a ground breaking agreement, that protects job security in the UK against the threat of offshoring, whilst at the same time enhancing the rights of workers on Siemens contracts abroad.
Voice-over: The young members’ network is set up, encouraging members under 27 years old to get involved in the union.
Voice-over: Also our first national organising strategy aimed at building the union and encouraging more activists to get involved is launched.
Voice-over: In July Gordon Brown, the Chancellor announces 100,000 civil and public service job cuts live on television, we kick off our national campaign to defend members jobs, conditions and services and in November our members across the union take part in the largest civil service strike since 1971 over these announcements. The government immediately scraps their proposals to attack civil servants sickness entitlements.
On screen: In May Labour is re-elected in the general election with a significantly reduced majority.
On screen: In July celebrations take place as London is awarded the Olympics in 2012. A day later four bombs explode on London transport killing 56 people and injuring 700, trade union members across the public sector play a major role in responding to the bombs.
Voice-over: In 2005 to step up our campaigning in the devolved governments parliamentary groups are set up the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.
Voice-over: Playing a lead role in the TUC campaign to protect public servants pensions pays off for PCS as many of our members secure the right to retire at 60 and retain the final salary scheme.
Janice Godrich (voxpop): In terms of the industrial agenda, for me, pensions is the one that stands out, because we were told that the proposals to scrap the final salary pension scheme and to raise the pension age from 60 to 65 were non-negotiable, that the unions will just be consulted on the process but the principle was firm and actually as a result of our members balloting for industrial action, within the space of seven days, the government had made a complete u-turn and we protected our members final salary pension scheme and we protected the pension age at 60.
Voice-over: Hundreds of PCS members in the Prison Service fighting for over seven years for equal pay win £50 million in back pay and the right to earn the same as their male colleagues.
Voice-over: In April Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise merge to form one department, HM Revenue and Customs.
Voice-over: We launch our alternative vision of the civil service in conjunction with academics from Keele University.
Voice-over: We welcome over 7,500 members from the Association of Magisterial Officers who join us to strengthen our voice in the justice sector and we celebrate the success of our campaign to keep the Forensic Science Service in the public sector.
Voice-over: PCS pledges full support for the Justice for Jay campaign to bring the racist murderers of PCS member Jay Abatan to justice.
Voice-over: Leading other unions in the UK we launch our fair and ethical trade purchasing policy and thousands of our members support the mass MakePovertyHistory mobilisation to urge governments to drop the debt of third world countries.
Voice-over: In 2006 PCS leads the way in a ground-breaking win for union recognition for agency workers.
Lynda Stephenson, Rural Payments Agency (voxpop): I worked for Adecco, I came on a six week contract, I was there for six years as an agency worker on minimum wage with less terms and conditions than the civil service. PCS came in as a test case, we were the guinea pigs for them to try and gauge interest in the union and to try to get recognition so they could try for terms and conditions better for agency workers. 100% of people joined the union and we fought for recognition and wet to ballot and 100% of people voted again and we gained recognition. We went from 400+ agency workers on staff to 0 at the moment. We have short term contracts with civil service terms and conditions and a lot of the workforce are being permanised and that’s across the rural payments agency.
Voice-over: Members across the union vote YES to establish a political fund, meaning we can step up our campaigning at election time and expose the racist policies of the far right.
Voice-over: Our members in the NHS pensions agency are jubilant after they win the right to stay in the public sector following proposals to privatise their jobs.
Voice-over: As a result of imaginative campaigning members in the MoD in Telford are successful in keeping jobs in the town.
Voice-over: Guidance on the implementation of the two-tier workforce protocol is issued. PCS is responsible for ensuring this is applied to outsourced contracts in central government.
Voice-over: We welcome members from the Serious Organised Crime Agency which was formed from existing law enforcement agencies and customs. The creation of the agency saw many former police officers joining a trade union and exercising their right to take industrial action for the very first time.
On screen: Tony Blair steps down as Prime Minister and Gordon Brown takes over.
On screen: The Scottish National Party becomes the largest party in Scotland and a coalition leads the Welsh assembly forward.
Voice-over: In 2007 using the political fund, thousands of PCS members challenge Scottish parliamentary, Welsh assembly and local authority candidates standing for election over protecting public services in our make your vote count campaign.
Voice-over: Members again demonstrate their anger at government attacks on their jobs by taking part in two national days of strike action.
Voice-over: The new civil service pension scheme is agreed following a ballot of all members.
Voice-over: PCS successfully challenged discriminatory relocation proposals on the grounds of race leading to for the first time the return of relocated work and compensation for members in ACAS.
Liv Thomas, Insolvency Service (voxpop): I feel that PCS are fully supportive of the equality agenda but I think there is plenty more to be done, especially as regards to representation within the workforce. The civil service as a whole is not representative of the society it serves. If you look at the top echelons of the senior civil service it is mainly the same, predominantly white, middle class males so there’s still a lot to be done.
On screen: There is an unprecedented economic collapse as governments across the world have to bail out major banks and the world leaves 2008 heading for the worst global recession since the second world war.
On screen: Barack Obama wins a historic election victory to become the first black president of the United States.
Voice-over: In 2008 we celebrate our 10th anniversary. Over the past 10 years we’ve won £30 million for our members in compensation at work.
Fran Heathcote, Department of Work and Pensions (voxpop): The way that the union has been shaped over the ten years since we’ve started has been massive and its really done well for the benefit of members.
Voice-over: We reach a major agreement with the government that offers increased protection on job security.
Voice-over: PCS launches major greening the workplace agenda.
Voice-over: We launch our new and fully accessible website which is an improved tool for reps and members.
Voice-over: New Labour imposes a 2% cap on public sector pay increases. PCS conference agrees a wide-ranging strategy to secure fairness on pay - including building on the joint action taken alongside sister unions. After a successful ballot for action, the union enters the first national pay negotiations since the early 1990s and wins a change in policy, freeing up more money for pay increases.
On screen: What do you hope for the future?
Janice Godrich (voxpop): Bigger, better bolder. I believe the union will continue to grow because it has to because the agenda we’re faced with is going to be continued and further attacks on public sector workers, whether they are civil servants or whether they’re public sector workers generally and members I believe instinctively realise that their only form of defence is the union, whether that is in the workplace, whether it is negotiating at bargaining level or whether negotiating at national level.
Stephen Farrelly, Identity and Passport Service (voxpop): I’d like to see them continue with the success of the national organising strategy which has clearly gone from strength to strength from 2005. Within that I can only see small branches like ourselves on an equal par with larger branches to ensure everyone becomes pro-active.
Mark Serwotka (voxpop): I hope we are bigger and stronger; that we get even more success in delivering on behalf of our members, that means going back to national pay bargaining, reversing the tide of privatisation but crucially and most importantly getting the people and in particularly the politicians in this country to respect and value the work that PCS members do, rather than use them as a political football, which disgracefully is what all politicians do at the moment.
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