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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 February 2017

Vote for Left Unity in the PCS elections

Sheffield: PCS BIS strike; Marion Lloyd in the foreground, 19.5.16 , photo A Tice

Sheffield: PCS BIS strike; Marion Lloyd in the foreground, 19.5.16 , photo A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Marion Lloyd, PCS Left Unity chair and PCS group president for BIS (personal capacity)

I am very proud to have been elected chair of PCS Left Unity in December 2016, which is a rank-and-file organisation that brings together left activists in the union. It is open and democratically run. The Socialist Party has consistently recognised the importance of working with other left groups and independents, which is why we have always argued for the right to disagree on policy issues while standing for maximum unity in elections.

Left Unity is one of the biggest and most successful groups of its kind in the trade union movement, with a record of 14 years of election victories and a paid-up membership of up to 1,000 activists and growing all the time.

PCS is a strong, democratic and fighting union; its leadership is at the forefront of political campaigning against austerity and has backed this with action.

We have defeated government attempts to destroy our effectiveness by destroying 'check-off' - the method by which we collected our subs. Also, we should not forget the government departments where Left Unity group members are active in defending members and challenging austerity.

Our immediate challenge is to win the 2017 elections. Left Unity, together with PCS Democrats, are putting forward a 'Democracy Alliance' slate in April/May 2017. We then have PCS annual conference where we expect Left Unity policies to set the scene for the union's work in the next period.

These include campaigns to challenge the government's freeze on pay, opposition to job cuts and office closures, and how the union should intervene politically to take forward our anti-austerity policies.

Many of these challenges that we face are the same as those faced by the memberships of other unions. We should develop stronger links with other union left groups and explore the possibility of joint initiatives such as the TUC Broad Left.

PCS Left Unity called a big public meeting in early 2012, addressed by our general secretary Mark Serwotka and president Janice Godrich, in order to attempt to take forward the public sector pensions dispute in 2011. This is a good example of what's possible.

Despite the union having had a left leadership for so long, a strong active Left Unity is still vital. We have never taken for granted our leadership position in the union. And we recognise that we need to be continuously accountable for our actions, not just to the PCS membership but to Left Unity members who put us up for election, work for us to be elected and sustain us in office.

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In The Socialist 1 February 2017:


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