Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/186/8030
Elected to fight for members' interests
IT WAS clear that once Reamsbottom had been told that Left Unity were not putting up a candidate he faced the possibility of being beaten by Lanning in a straight fight.
This added to his general demoralisation about having to submit himself for re-election in the first place. This played a key role in his decision to withdraw from the race before the nomination process was completed.
So when Lanning offered Reamsbottom a deal to withdraw from the election he took it. This deal included being allowed to withdraw progressively from being general secretary from February 2001 and finally retiring in May 2002.
Amazingly he is to be paid until May 2004, then he'll get his no doubt generous pension paid for by the members' subs over the years of his tenure as general secretary.
Serwotka can take up his position as general secretary elect from February 2001, alongside Reamsbottom until he retires in May 2002. But Serwotka has said that he doesn't want to take up his position until Reamsbottom leaves. This is because he wants to spend his time 'building up the Left in the union'.
It would be a mistake to allow the right-wing dominated executive to run the union without him. In that crucial 15 months between February 2001 and May 2002, the crucial question of national pay bargaining will loom large.
His refusal to establish himself at the PCS headquarters would leave the left minority on the executive, including vice president Janice Godrich, to fight for the policies of the left in isolation.
He got over 40,000 votes, this is a strong mandate to fight for the programme he was elected on.
Left Unity has a policy of opposing so-called 'delegated pay' to the different civil service agencies, when in fact there is only one employer, the treasury, who determine the employers' attitude for all pay negotiations.
The Treasury are determined to spread the introduction of performance-related pay to further break up workers' unity, allowing widely different pay scales for those doing the same job.
The bottom pay sales of the civil service are some of the lowest in the public sector. It will take a mighty struggle by the whole union behind one pay claim to rectify this.
It is the responsibility of the new general secretary to use his authority to fight for this. In important issues like pay he should be prepared to go over the heads of the out of touch, right-wing national executive majority to the membership as a whole. He should base himself on the mandate that he was given in his election victory.
In The Socialist 15 December 2000: