PCS union AGS takes worker’s wage

In May 2019 John Moloney, the candidate for the Independent Left faction, was elected as Assistant General Secretary of the PCS Union. This is the second most senior full time officer (FTO) post in the union.

PCS watchers will know that in respect of the Independent Left’s (IL) policy platform for full time officers there are two central positions:

  • for an extension of elections for FTO positions
  • for FTO’s to be paid a worker’s wage

To be candid I think both positions are problematic but especially the first (an idea I was once attracted to) but that is by the by.

In line with the IL’s policy John Moloney committed if elected to the AGS post he would take a worker’s wage – which is taken as being a salary of an average PCS member being an Executive Officer within DWP (not an unreasonable conclusion in my view). I made some not especially serious comments about this while the election was ongoing, which given the update below appear to have been on point.

Now he has taken up post John Moloney has provided an update to members on the IL website which I repost in full:

I have now signed a contract with the PCS and have become an employee of the union from the 1 July. As such I am entitled to a salary of £69,466 a year (£5,788 a month).

As part of my election platform though, I promised not to take the full AGS salary but only take home the wage of a DWP Executive Officer (EO) working in London.

EO is the most common grade in the Civil Service; DWP is the biggest part of the Service and I work in London. Therefore it seems to me that the EO salary is a representative wage of members in the union. Further, in my opinion it is a workers’ wage.

I asked the union only to be paid this but PCS stated that I had to take the full money. Therefore I am donating the difference between the AGS net pay and EO net pay to the fighting fund.

According to tax calculators having a gross monthly salary of £5,788 should mean earning £4,069 net.

DWP London EO salary is £30,303. According to the same calculators this leaves £2,012 net. Therefore I will be giving back £2,057 a month to the PCS; 24,684 a year.

To put this into context, the recent week long strike by BEIS cleaners/catering staff cost the union approx £20,000 in strike pay.

I have opted out of the PCS pension fund. If I am not taking the full wage, it seemed wrong to me to get the indirect benefit of the full salary through the pension scheme. I have decades of reckonable service in a Civil Service pension so I am lucky compared to most. I can well understand therefore someone with much less pension service opting into the PCS pension scheme.

It is my intention to publish my end of July wage slip and my standing order to the Fighting Fund, so proving that I have fulfilled my pledge. I will ensure that in the annual accounts, my contribution to the FF is shown (rank does have some privileges).

I must stress that my stance on the AGS wage is not that of a hair shirt moralist; it is political. During the five years of my contract, my take home will only increase in line with that of DWP London EOs. Poor pay awards will hit me in the same way as members. Therefore there will be a real organic link between my material well being and that of members. So at least in the pay sense, I can say I am one with the members and have no separate material interest to them.

John Moloney

PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)