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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 July 2020

PCS executive majority cancels union democracy

PCS strike in 2013, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS strike in 2013, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Dave Semple, PCS union national executive committee (personal capacity)

At its meeting on 8 July, the controlling majority of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) National Executive Committee rejected moves to resume this year's union elections. The proposal from the Broad Left Network - the left group in PCS supported by Socialist Party members - would have restarted the elections in August.

PCS holds elections annually for president, vice-presidents and national executive committee. But arrangements for the 2020 elections were suspended part-way through March this year.

The elections, which are by postal ballot, could have gone ahead at that time. Socialist Party members argued in favour of this and suggested extending the ballot period by a month to allow for postal delays during the pandemic.

The decision to suspend the elections was taken by the Left Unity (Socialist View/SWP) majority bloc on the executive, which argued it was impractical to hold ballots during the pandemic, but said it would keep the situation 'under review'.

Astonishingly, Left Unity's justification for now entirely cancelling the elections ranged from 'there are many different ways of engaging with members other than elections' to 'members are not knocking at our door demanding elections'!

The executive's decision to keep itself in office without elections is as shameful as it is unsurprising. Its failure on the 2020 pay campaign; the refusal to lead a collective response to the health and safety threats faced by members during the Covid pandemic; and the continued drop in union membership, is a record not easy to defend. Why would it want elections!

At the same executive meeting, the Left Unity majority rejected a Broad Left Network amendment to a Trade Union Congress motion: "To defend jobs and communities [by taking] into public ownership companies that threaten mass redundancies and closures." Rejecting such a basic workers' demand exposes the hollowness of any claim they might have to be a 'left campaigning organisation'.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 15 July 2020:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Workers and young people need planning for jobs, not handouts for bosses

Lockdown Leicester: trade unionists and parents fight for safety

Sexist dismissal of women's health: NHS needs democratic control

Palace letters show the monarchy is a weapon for capitalism

Defend free TV licences for pensioners!

Water shortage warning: nationalise now!

Hillingdon Hospital corona outbreak: workforce not to blame


No going back

A socialist programme for schools


Workplace news and analysis

A fighting programme for Unite

PCS executive majority cancels union democracy

'Hands off our pensions!' demand angry Nissan workers

Tower Hamlets council workers strike back

Ratcliffe rats on Bridgend workers


Socialist history

How capitalist restoration led to war and 'ethnic cleansing' in the Balkans


Black Lives Matter

How the FBI and Chicago police murdered a Black Panther

Will boosting the 'black pound' improve black workers' lives?

BLM protests - another injustice exposed


Readers' opinion

Books that inspired me: The Mother

TV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Jobs, homes, services and a future for all!

Socialism 2020 - ideas to change the world

Nottingham trans rights protest: Our demands are the same as everyone's

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Donations help us campaign and fight for socialism

Selling the Socialist in Swansea


 

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