Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/656/11148
PCS young members' network conference
The civil servants' union, PCS, held its annual Young Members' Forum in Manchester from 4 to 6 February. 75 delegates, 33 of whom were attending their first ever union event, came together from every region.
Alan Warner, outgoing Young Members' Chair, kicked off by making some remarks about the leading role which PCS young members have played in building the union's campaigns over the last year.
He was followed by Tracy Edwards, National Young Members' Organiser, who explained that the campaigning approach of young members in PCS has spread to other unions.
For example, it forced the TUC to call a demonstration on 29 January to defend young people's rights.
I then gave a short talk about the campaign of PCS in Jobcentre Plus contact centres to defend the conditions of staff. We are regularly forced to put meaningless statistics and arbitrary targets before the interests of the vulnerable people we serve.
It is now likely that a ballot will take place involving all Jobcentre Plus contact centre members. At the end of the weekend, I was proud to announce that over £250 had been raised towards the hardship fund.
There were workshop sessions including representing members in personal cases, a history of trade unionism in the civil service and how to build a community campaign.
There were also plenary sessions about how to fight the cuts and the unfolding revolutionary events in North Africa and the Middle East.
Left Unity, the socialist group in PCS, held a fringe meeting at a nearby venue on Saturday night. The meeting attracted over 20 young members eager to hear about what they can do to make sure PCS further develops as a campaigning, fighting union.
The weekend demonstrated that a united and campaigning network of activists can be constructed. I would encourage everyone to join a union and to help re-build the trade unions as an effective campaigning and democratic movement.
In The Socialist 9 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis