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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 May 2009

PCS conference: A fighting union that defends its members

THE LEFT-led Democracy Alliance in the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has been re-elected for the seventh year in succession. Five-yearly elections for the deputy general secretary and assistant general secretary posts also saw Alliance supporters Hugh Lanning and Chris Baugh re-elected.

Janice Godrich, national president PCS

This election victory is a testament to the hard work of activists and a leadership that has won concessions in very difficult political and economic circumstances. Under decades of right-wing 'leadership', civil servants were seen as an easy touch.

We have changed all that and transformed PCS into a campaigning, democratic union that is a beacon to workers in Britain and internationally. Members trust our leadership because we listen and stand by them, providing strong, effective leadership.

We reject the idea that working people should pay the price of a recession they did not create by accepting attacks on wages, conditions and services. PCS conference, which takes place next week, will debate our response to the government's budget statement that sets out the insane "strategy" of trying to tackle the recession by implementing more cuts - 15 billion-worth - and more privatisation.

Labour has learned nothing from the collapse of the banking system and remains committed to the failed neo-liberal ideology that has resulted in the worst recession since the 1930s.

Defending jobs, pay, conditions and services must be our top priority. We must build our campaign against these cuts but also set out our alternative, including a major expansion of the public sector. We must also step up our efforts to build public-sector unity, including building links with other unions at all levels and in every city, town and community.

Our right-wing opponents offer nothing but division, despair and defeatism. The witch-hunting, red-baiting poison in their recent electoral addresses is a warning they intend ruthlessly exploiting the difficult period we are in to return our union to the days when right-wing leaders ran the union as a business in the interests of the government.

They spent all their energies attacking activists and branches while collaborating with the employer to attack members' conditions and interests.

We will keep building a campaigning, democratic union that defends members - a union they can be proud of.

  • For detailed election results see: www.pcs.org.uk/en/ news_and_events/elections_and_ballots/
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