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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Trade Union Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:33 pm on 15th October 2015.

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Mark Serwotka: I am Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union. We have a quarter of a million members—overwhelmingly, civil servants and public sector workers working on public contracts and in non-departmental public bodies—and a significant membership in the private sector as a result of outsourcing where people have remained members of PCS.

We have lots of concerns about the Bill, but I know that you are hearing lots of evidence, so I will just draw particularly to your attention at this point the effect of the Bill on people’s right to take lawful industrial action. We are particularly representing public sector workers, who in our case have had 11 years of pay restraint. Secondly, we think much of what is in the Bill was trialled in the civil service by the last Government. Therefore, we have direct experience of the withdrawal of check-off, the withdrawal of facility time and the attempt to openly undermine trade unions by public servants working at the Government’s behest. Thirdly, as a non-affiliated public sector union that spends over £1 million a year on campaigning, much of which is political but not party-political campaigning, we have very clear concerns about the effect of the changes to the political fund rules.