Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1073/30257
PCS union: Uniting the left around a leadership that can win for members
Katrine Williams, vice-president PCS DWP group (personal capacity)
The 2020 national elections of the PCS, a union of civil servants and private sector workers on government contracts, are at a key stage. Branches throughout the union are meeting to agree nominations for president and national executive committee. The closing date for submitting nominations is 5 March.
Contesting these elections will be the newly formed Broad Left Network (BLN). Socialist Party members are on the list of BLN-supported candidates. These include Marion Lloyd for national president, David Semple for national vice-president and Katrine Williams for national executive committee. The full list can be found at pcsbln.wordpress.com.
At its inaugural meeting on 18 January, the BLN agreed its programme. This covers the union's campaigns on pay, pensions, redundancy rights, tax justice, social security, equality, mental health, climate change and other issues.
Improving the union's record of organising and recruiting members, better training for reps, defending facility time and ensuring our members in the private sector are fully supported have also been identified as key issues for the BLN.
Underpinning all of this is union democracy and accountability. The trend in the union has been the development of a siege mentality by the current leadership.
The collapse of coordinated strike action across the public sector unions after the magnificent two million-strong pensions strike on 30 November 2011, and attacks on facility time and the end of check-off, have led the current leadership to move towards centralisation, and a full-time officer-directed model of organisation divorced from and unaccountable to reps and members.
A fundamental shift is required in how the union operates. For this reason we are calling on all PCS branches to nominate BLN-supported candidates for president and national executive committee in this year's elections.
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In The Socialist 12 February 2020: