Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/581/7355
Young members' voices heard
PCS has a strong left leadership, including members of the Socialist Party, that challenges the way trade unions act and fight on behalf of their members.
Tracy Edwards, PCS young members' network, personal capacity
This left leadership set up a young members' network in 2004 which has grown in strength and organisation in recent years. This year, more young workers were engaged in main discussions around our conference agenda.
Nick Parker, Youth Fights for Jobs steering committee and PCS Lincolnshire youth convenor challenged criticisms by a small minority, of the Lindsey oil refinery dispute. Workers and unemployed can be united, clearing away the lies of far right parties through strong trade union organisation and a working class alternative.
There was unanimous support for a motion calling on PCS to support the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign, which the PCS national youth committee plays a role within. This means we can begin to produce joint material.
A motion calling for a national framework to ensure all call centre workers have minimum trade union standards means PCS can unite our call centre campaigning work. This follows on from the recent HMRC dispute which saw the employer concede on nearly all the demands because nearly 100% of PCS members working for HMRC call centres voted to take selective action.
This would have seen them walk out together for 1-2 hours at a time, disrupting HMRC's ability to answer tax queries. Management probably didn't like it much when over 250 people joined the union during the two week ballot period!
Our young members' fringe meeting attracted over 50 people, young and older. Helen Irving from Benton Park View branch HMRC in Newcastle spoke about young people getting involved in the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign because the world leaders will not sort it out for us. It's up to young people to shout a bit louder.
DWP youth officer, Helen Flanagan from the North West reminded the meeting about the importance of having a key set of demands for young people and pointed to the PCS Young Members' Charter as a template.
Many congratulated the young members' network, saying how good it is to see so many new and young faces having a influence in our union and campaigns.
On our stall we distributed 'rights at work' leaflets, jargon busters and our young members' materials. We obtained key contacts from branches interested in organising young member activity in their workplace. We sold T-shirts to young and older, raising over £350 for the PCS hardship fund.
There was a buzz around conference this week. I can't remember seeing this many people being so excited about the future and direction our union is moving in. In this environment, I'm sure our young members' network will continue to grow.
In The Socialist 27 May 2009:
Youth fight for jobs
Construction workers feature
International socialist news and analysis
PCS conference and workplace news
Socialist Party campaigning news