Thursday 28th July (6,30pm), STUC , 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow.
PCS has taken a leading role within the trade union movement in voicing
concerns about welfare policy, and in campaigning to defend and strengthen
the welfare state.
As a union representing nearly 100,000 staff delivering welfare, PCS has an
obligation not only to our members, but to those who use it – including our
future, current and former members and their families too.
PCS members take pride in the welfare state, and they want a welfare state
that provides a decent standard of living for the retired, the unemployed and for
those unable to work, and that rewards them fairly as public servants.
Over the past 30 years the concept of welfare has been under attack. As
governments have stopped pursuing policies of full employment they have
sought to pass the blame for unemployment to the individual.
Now the government’s £18 billion welfare cuts will damage the welfare state
as a safety net that ensures a decent standard of living for those unable to work.
We have no wish to return to the welfare state of the late 1940s: it reflected the
social attitudes of its time (especially towards women and disabled people).
However, the welfare state did establish the principle of ‘social insurance’
giving people the security of knowing that if they become unemployed, ill or
disabled, and when they retire they will not be in poverty. If people need to
care for children, disabled or elderly relatives then they too should be guaranteed
a dignified income.
These principles are the hallmarks of civilised society – we need to make the
case for welfare for the 21st century. Our case is set out in a pamphlet which looks at the past, present and future of welfare and we hope it starts a new debate about the sort of welfare and society that we want.