Headlines: May 12th, 2003

The Public and Commercial Services Union is concerned about the growth of a two tier workforce in central government. While the issue is being addressed in local government the practice of two people doing the same work on different terms and conditions is growing in central government. Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS said it would be unthinkable for the government not to take steps to eradicate the two tiers across the whole of the public sector.The PCS argues that the government has opted for private provision where there have been perfectly good public sector alternatives, or where the weight of specialist opinion was opposed to privatisation. The part privatisation of National Air Traffic Services and the privatisation of the Naval Dockyards are typical examples.

Mark Serwotka said: “As a union our members are committed to providing world calls public services and delivering public sector reform. Our members are at the forefront delivering a public service to millions every day. Yet increasingly their voice isn’t heard. With the creeping privatisation of public service delivery we are seeing the creation of a private monopoly of a handful of private firms scooping up central government contracts accountable not to the electorate but to shareholders.”

He added: “We believe that the government’s modernisation agenda can be fully achieved within the public sector, by harnessing and investing in the knowledge and experience of the thousands of civil servants and we will seek to work with other unions to prevent the further privatisation of any public sector work.”

The PCS is the largest union in the Civil Service and non-departmental bodies. It also represents employees in a number of private companies, notably in Information Technology. It is one of the ten largest unions in the UK.