Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Message to PCS members in the MoD

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Hello it's Mark Serwotka the general secretary of PCS. I'm sending you this

short video message to address the question of MOD pay and what I know has

become a contentious issue amongst our members in the Ministry of Defence.

Indeed let me acknowledge right up front that many of you have taken the time to

write to me recently asking why your Union has rejected management's pay

offer and we haven't balloted you on it. I believe as general secretary that when

members contact the Union you deserve a response so we've issued emails

circulars and leaflets, but I thought it would be helpful if I also sent you this

personal message. Now let me say one thing straight away working in the MOD

as a civil servant like many of your colleagues elsewhere in the civil

service you have endured a very difficult few years. Pay has been below

the rate of inflation we've seen cuts in our pensions and we've seen management

trying to cut our redundancy terms. We see less and less staff being asked to

deliver more and more and it's been a very difficult period to be a civil

servant. Against that backdrop when management offer us a higher pay raise

than we may have been expecting, it is understandable by many people we want

the Union to take the money because of the difficult period we've had however I

want to say to you that when we get pay offers the job of your Union is to

scrutinize very very carefully what management are asking for in return for

a pay rise. We believe that people should get unconditional pay rises with

no strings attached. We fought over many years to get the best terms and

conditions we can and it would be an irresponsible thing to do if we started

to give those up in return for pay. So my starting message is this; management

could make you this pay offer without any strings attached we would be happy

to agree with it and we could move on. They have decided deliberately and

provocatively to pose a pay offer knowing that people are desperate for

higher pay by trying to divide the workforce and ask people who do not benefit

from this offer to give up terms and conditions so that other people can get

more pay. As a union we cannot accept that. In fact I'd ask everybody watching

this video to ask themselves this very simple question;

imagine if management made a change to other terms and conditions and you

specifically were on the receiving end how would you feel if your Union

accepted that so that some people benefited but you were worse off? You

wouldn't be in favor of that and quite rightly so.

So we believe if we agree now to giving up terms and conditions in return for

pay it will be the start of a process. Next year management will inevitably

come back and ask for different terms and conditions. Maybe they won't want to

pay you for your sick leave, maybe they will want to enforce different working

practices on you. Our view is that is wrong and the Union

cannot accept it. In fact we believe it is a trade union principle that we

cannot allow people to vote away terms and conditions of their colleagues in

order for some but not all to benefit. So like PCS, all of the union's in MOD have

campaigned against this pay offer. We believe we've done the right thing and I

would urge you now to join with us and realise the union is on your side it is

your management who are trying to divide the work force and say we're not going

to accept it. Make sure you don't just stay in your union get active in it and

urge non-members to join, and it's never been a more important time to do that.

And I want to finish with this. Last week your National Executive Committee

decided to launch, in 2020, a major national campaign. It's to improve pay

for all of our members, it is to get our pension overpayment money back because

you pay 2% each month more for your pension than you should, and it's to seek

a guarantee from government that nobody's redundancy terms will be cut.

The worst possible thing we can do, as we launch that national campaign, will be

give in to management's divisive offer and to split our membership where some

benefited and others didn't. If we stick together, if we say to management get

back around the negotiating table, we can do better in MOD, and if we do that

across the civil service, we can all do better. So thanks for listening to this

video I hope you understand why we've taken the decisions we have I now call

on management to give you a no-strings-attached decent pay rise and

I urge everyone to get involved in the Union so we can all improve our

pay our pensions on a redundancy terms. Thanks very much.

The Description of Message to PCS members in the MoD