PCS and UNITE to merge?

As a PCS member and former Branch Secretary of some 22 years service, this question both concerns and interests me and it features in Private Eye edition 1344.

The Eye seems to think that the trade union barons in both of these huge unions will want to merge to create more political muscle and that this could well be outside of shovelling more money into the Labour Party.

PCS has helped sponsor trade union candidates for UK elections and did so at the recent Eastleigh Parliamentary by-election. Clearly, it was PCS (and other unions) waving two fingers at Labour; trouble is their candidate got so few votes (62 in fact which was 0.15% of the votes cast) the move was pointless and merely cost PCS members and others a few bob in a lost deposit and other election costs.

PCS and indeed its predecessor unions were all basically been non-politically aligned i.e. their members being mostly public servants have not paid a political levy to the Labour Party. Personally, I have always thought that stance correct as public servants have to serve the Government of the day no matter who they are and to do so whilst paying a party political levy would hardly make public servants look impartial.

But UNITE is presently Labour’s biggest financial supporter (and problem?) and its members are affiliated to Labour. So how can two unions merge that are fundamentally split on supporting Labour? UNITE backs Labour and PCS backs trade union candidates who stand against Labour!

PCS is certainly playing down the merger and simply talking about forms of co-operation with UNITE.

An odd situation all together but I think PCS would be well advised to stop wasting PCS member’s money in local or Parliamentary elections. But underneath this process the real problem is the inability of the trade union movement to effectively find a way forward during our present economic down-turn.