The Socialist 11 September 2019 |
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Fighting PCS general secretary needed - Marion Lloyd: Why I am standing
Marion Lloyd (second left) on strike with fellow workers and PCS members, photo Marion Lloyd for PCS GS (Click to enlarge)
The most pressing priority for PCS civil servants' union members and the wider working class is to bring the government's austerity programme to an end. This is why I have argued at the PCS national executive committee that we need a general election to do all we can to get the Tories out and find a Brexit solution which protects PCS members and stops cuts, closures and attacks on public services.
I am a Socialist Party member and have served our union the whole of my working life. Along with others, I played an important role in paving the way for PCS to become a fighting union, first under New Labour and then against the Tories, and their vicious austerity. However, I believe that this is now under threat.
The attacks on our union and our members in this age of austerity has been unprecedented. I have always argued for a fighting strategy to defend our members. I have led and taken part in national and local industrial action which has won for members by protecting our pensions and jobs.
I am currently group president in the BEIS group and led the campaign to stop the closure of the Sheffield office and all local offices. Together with members we saved 180 jobs. I continue to support the action being taken by outsourced workers including the indefinite strike action in my own department for a decent wage. All these services should be brought back in-house.
It is because of my fighting and campaigning record that I am asking members to vote for me to be the next general secretary.
My programme is committed to protecting our terms and conditions, fighting to reverse the cuts and attacks, campaigning to save our offices and jobs.
We must ensure that the struggle for equality, on issues like equal pay and real reforms which remove the barriers to a decent working life for women, disabled, black and LGBT+ members, is integral to everything our union does. Part of this must be to remove barriers to enable members to play an active role in our union, particularly women.
If I win, I will not take the full general secretary wage. I pledge to remain on my current civil service salary and not materially gain if elected.
Making this stand ensures our trade union leaders do not become removed from the members they represent. I also pledge to reverse the creeping erosion of member-led democracy of our union and give back control to our elected committees and members.
My immediate priority will be to put pressure on the government to ensure that we have the staffing levels required to deliver - whatever the fall-out from Brexit - across the civil service and partner organisations including the commercial sector.
I will fight to:
- Stop office closures and save jobs. Work with members in DWP, HMRC and other groups where mass office closures are planned, to build campaigns and industrial action to defend local offices and jobs.
- Break the pay cap and win a cost of living pay rise which compensates for the pay cuts of the last decade. To win this we need a fighting pay strategy which includes all member ballots but also a strategy which can overcome the draconian anti-trade union laws. This includes group and employer ballots and action to win for members. Linking this to building for national and coordinated industrial action across the union. PCS also needs to take a lead in convincing other public sector unions to join with us and coordinate ballots to win decent pay rises across the public sector.
- Build group and all union campaigns and industrial action to defend our terms and conditions and stop the constant erosion. Fight to reverse the detrimental changes of recent years and extend the best to all members and new starters.
- Strengthen the lay structures of reps and members. Build on the democratic gains including implementing the conference policy to extend the election of full-time officers beyond general secretary and assistant general secretary.
- Link up with school student strikers and develop a trade union approach to a just energy transition and climate jobs.
I will campaign for the election of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government with anti-austerity policies in a general election.
However, I have opposed attempts within the PCS leadership to move us towards affiliation to Labour in the current situation. I back the union's policy of supporting candidates who support PCS policies and our members' interests.
But as well as Jeremy Corbyn, within Labour there are also Blairite MPs, who in government attacked the pay and conditions of civil servants, and still stand for cuts and privatisation today. I stand for the democratisation of the Labour Party and the deselection of the Blairites.
PCS should be supporting candidates who support PCS policies and our members' interests, but not campaigning for those that support cuts and austerity, whatever party they belong to.
My record shows that I have the experience required to lead PCS through these unprecedented times, while my programme ensures that PCS will campaign on the issues that matter most to members. As such, I would ask that you nominate me in your branch to ensure that I can take this programme to PCS members during the election.
Candidates need fifteen nominations to get on the ballot paper by the closing date of 14 October. Please give me the opportunity to put my programme to the PCS membership.