Yesterday, in my capacity as PCS Regional committee member along with several colleagues from Shropshire I joined other PCS members from around the country in a mass lobby of Parliament. We chose an economical and leisurely transport option by using the Wrexham and Shropshire service.

Lunchtime was a Faulty Towers-like experience where we didn’t quite manage to grab a late breakfast.  We were told that they didn’t do food (not even breakfast) until after 12 O’clock but when we tried again after 12 they said they didn’t do breakfast because it was after 12!!!  We all rethought our choices and placed our orders. We were then informed we would have to eat upstairs because the lift wasn’t working. Our food arrived late and was cold and not completely as ordered but due to the tight time schedule we had to go along with it, although we did get free coffees all round.

I missed part of the initial PCS briefing at Parliament because the PCS President asked me to help the PCS national press officer so I will hand you over to my colleague who was present at the meeting to give a full account and how the MPs that we lobbied were very supportive of our action to achieve a negotiated settlement on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

Yesterday around 100 representatives of PCS, including a strong delegation from Shropshire, and from across the UK descended on Parliament to lobby MPs over cuts to the redundancy terms for civil and public servants. The lobby and rally come as a quarter of a million civil and public servants gear up for a 48 hour stoppage on 8 and 9 March over the unilateral changes, which will see staff robbed of up to a third of their entitlements and see loyal civil and public servants lose tens of thousands of pounds if they are forced out of their job. Indeed our colleagues in RAF Cosford are still in scope of DTR and if they do not want to move to St Athans will be offered a worse redundancy package should these changes to the scheme take place. PCS have made it clear that there is still time for the Government to negotiate a fair settlement on this issue and Mark Serwotka wrote to the Minister on Monday asking for further meetings and if necessary to go to ACAS. To date the Minister Tessa Jowell has not responded.

Political pressure is mounting over the forced changes, with 155 MPs and former ministers signing an early day motion (EDM) urging the government to re-examine the ‘disappointing and unfair proposals’. I am pleased to announce that MP Mark Pritchard became the first MP in Shropshire to sign the EDM after our meeting with him yesterday. Additionally MP David Wright has now written a letter to the Minister on our behalf and MP Daniel Kawczynski is writing a letter to the Minister and putting down a written question in the House of Commons on our behalf after our meeting with them yesterday. All 3 local MPs agreed with the fact that they want to see a negotiated settlement and support PCS in calling for a negotiated settlement.

The Judicial Review is being stalled by Treasury Barristers not being available in March to appear in the High Court and many MP’s are now taking this up with the Minister since they believe this to be another key way to stop retrospective changes to our terms and conditions.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “It is disgraceful that the government has denied MPs a vote on these changes which are aimed at cutting jobs on the cheap. Instead the government has relied on an arcane parliamentary procedure to avoid any debate, discussion or vote to change the law. “It is clear that political pressure is growing with MPs and former ministers signing an early day motion that urges the government to re-examine the ‘disappointing and unfair proposals’.

Over 150 MPs recognise that the government should be protecting those who have given loyal service over a number of years rather than slashing their redundancy entitlements and cutting their jobs on the cheap. The government needs to pay heed to growing opposition from MPs and reach a negotiated settlement.”

Next Tuesday the Welsh Assembly is being closed since Labour Welsh Assembly Members have voted not to cross the PCS Picket Line!

This is a fight that we can and must win and it is important to show the Government that we are prepared to take a stance against retrospective changes to our terms and conditions.

13 Comments CherryPie on Mar 4th 2010

13 Responses to “PCS Lobby Parliament”

  1. Andrew Scott says:

    Parliament!? Now you really have entered an Alternative Reality (or Unreality).

    Your breakfast/lunch experience reminds me of the signs we used to see outside Scottish restaurants (in the Highlands) when I was a lad: “Restaurant Closed for Lunch”. Hmmm :)

    • CherryPie says:

      It certainly is another world in there. There were some very strange characters in there and we got ushered to one side at one stage so someone in a wig could walk from one end of the corridor to the other!

      LOL I left instructions with someone that they must find a better place for late breakfasts next time we visit ;-)

  2. Ginnie says:

    In the process of your day, you got a fabulous shot of Big Ben!

  3. jameshigham says:

    Very dire times and when politicians promises are confetti in the breeze.

    • CherryPie says:

      It depends what you mean by confetti in the breeze… If you mean that the MPs won’t fulfill the promises that they made on the day I am confident that they will. They have been stitched up as much as we have, there is a lot more that has gone on and come to light than I have posted here.

      For example another MP overheard our conversations and approached us with advice. In his opinion (with a lawyers background) he said we ‘must’ pursue the Judicial Review because he believed we would win the case. Personally he stands to gain nothing from giving us that advice, it was given freely.

      The whole incident is quite enlightening and I am sure you would be quite interested in some of the finer details ;-)

      You have to bear in mind that all we are asking for is a proper negotiated settlement. Which means something affordable in the current climate and finding ways to make the savings that government say are needed. PCS had offered alternative suggestions and were still negotiating when the plug was pulled on them!

  4. jameshigham says:

    I would indeed. Do tell.

  5. [...] Looking windswept in London [...]

  6. Sean Jeating says:

    Oh, well, Mylady, that explains all, and now you shrived your encounter of the third kind at Andrew’s you are forgiven to miss this (legendary) session. :)

  7. Sean Jeating says:

    Yes, CherryPie, there are stranges going on, obviously. And these very days in September seem to have been essential part of the beginning.
    Let’s not worry, though. Let’s be happy. :)

  8. Claude says:

    It was certainly an interesting three days at Sean’s place. I did wonder, then, where you were, Cherie, as you usually participate in the conversation with so much wisdom and a great sense of humour. Frankly, I’m still wondering now…