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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 December 2017

PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

Socialist Party members continue to play a key role

PCS members on strike, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS members on strike, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party member in PCS

Set up 40 years ago, PCS Left Unity remains the best example of a trade union united front. The core of the most active reps in the union are members of Left Unity.

On the back of the tremendous national consultative ballot on pay, the conference agreed an emergency motion committing Left Unity members to make links with left groupings in other trade unions to build unity and joint campaigns on pay.

Further, the conference agreed the need to apply pressure on other unions to meet with each other to coordinate campaigns and action.

PCS is currently playing a key role in progressing this agenda within the 'public sector liaison committee'.

Unfortunately the Socialist Workers Party was arguing for another motion calling for the union to immediately look to ballot as soon as possible in the new year to 'help put pressure on the government'.

This reckless position won no support from delegates who understood the need to get behind a serious strategy put forward by Socialist Party members.

The motion sets out steps on building up the head of steam required to break the cap and fight for extra investment in pay to begin to reverse the effects of years of pay restraint on working class people.

Strikes

The conference also heard about the number of disputes taking place across the union over the course of the year.

There was strike action by members in the Department for Transport taking place 4 and 5 December and a number of job centres took strike action this year against office closures.

A solidarity message was sent to a transgender worker sacked by the V&A museum after it failed to protect against transphobic abuse.

Despite job losses and cuts to facility time, the conference was well attended with left-wing trade unionists from across the union.

Around a third of attendees were Socialist Party members, including guest speaker Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary.

Also Janice Godrich, president, John McInally, national executive committee member, and Fran Heathcote, vice president, spoke in the debate on pay. Many other people from the Socialist Party spoke at the conference.

Other debates included the need for an independent public enquiry into state interference, exposed in cabinet papers released last year showing the scale of their involvement in blocking the election of Militant (later Socialist Party) supporter John Macreadie as general secretary of the union in 1986.

PCS Left Unity also reaffirmed its support for extending the election of senior full time officers in the union, to look at extending elections further and for the implementation of existing PCS policy on elections of full time officials.

In closing the conference, Left Unity national chair and Socialist Party member Marion Lloyd sent delegates away feeling positive and determined that 2018 will see massive gains for our class.

PCS will continue to play a key role in building the movement necessary to defeat the government and bring about socialist change.

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In The Socialist 6 December 2017:


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