Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/27372
Threat to unity of PCS left
Support Chris Baugh's re-election as AGS
PCS members in both Left Unity and the wider union at all levels, will be shocked and disappointed that Janice Godrich intends to stand against a fellow Socialist Party member Chris Baugh for PCS Assistant General Secretary (AGS), with the encouragement and support of PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.
This intention was declared on Janice's Facebook page on 16th May, with letters from herself and Mark Serwotka.
Chris has been the AGS since 2004 and has played a full part in the collective left leadership that has helped transform the union from the one led by a vicious right-wing leadership.
The Socialist Party has selected Chris Baugh to be our candidate in the Left Unity nomination process and we ask Janice to reconsider her decision and support Chris.
We have held a full democratic discussion in our ranks over six months, with Chris receiving overwhelming support from the party's National Committee and our members in PCS. No objection to this agreed decision was raised at our National Congress in March.
There is absolutely no justification for this divisive step that threatens a split on the left, which can only aid opponents in the union and the Tories and the Blairites outside.
This is particularly the case at a time when the left has been re-elected at NEC and Group level and is about to embark on a campaign to win a statutory strike ballot on pay.
Mark Serwotka has given his support to Janice against Chris, describing her history in the union's leadership and her rank and file roots.
But contrary to the impression given, in all the vital battles over four decades, as both an elected rank-and-file lay member and officer, Chris has also been at the centre of the struggle against the union's right-wing, and successive Tory and New Labour governments.
As a rank-and-file union member, Chris played a central role in forming, developing and building broad lefts in CPSA and then PCS as Left Unity.
This was essential in bringing together militant fighters across the left into a united force that could challenge the right wing.
Chris played a key role in working with Mark, Janice and many others such as fellow Socialist Party members John Macreadie and Terry Adams in mobilising members and branches to defeat the attempted coup by Reamsbottom and subsequently transforming the union.
Chris and the Socialist Party have always championed lay democracy and warned of the dangers of concentrating power in unelected officers, both in past struggles and today.
Chris has successfully stood for election three times as the AGS candidate for Left Unity. And as AGS and Treasurer, he has been to the fore in working with members and officers to ensure that PCS was able to face down the Tory threat to bankrupt the union through the removal of check-off.
Despite this and the effect on income as a result of brutal Tory cuts, PCS's finances have been protected for the challenges to come.
He has also been heavily involved in the many national, group and local disputes involving PCS members.
Mark states: "Above all we need a united senior full time leadership", and yet he has attacked Chris without publically explaining any differences on industrial or political issues.
This is wrong and totally unjustified and goes against the history and culture of Left Unity. This unnecessarily divisive step threatens the unity that has been hard-won and has made PCS such a focus of opposition to this brutal Tory government.
It is not too late for Janice to pull back and we urge her to do so. This assumes even more importance as the union prepares for a national pay ballot.
A Socialist Party statement
Socialist Party PCS conference fringe meeting
Tories Out! Fight for socialist policies!
Lunchtime on Wednesday May 23rd 2018
Gresham Suite, Old Ship Hotel, Brighton
- Peter Taaffe, SP General Secretary
- Chris Baugh, PCS Assistant General Secretary (personal capacity)
- Chair: Marion Lloyd, PCS NEC & Left Unity chair (personal capacity)
Buffet & refreshments provided
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 17 May 2018 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.