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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2021

PCS Broad Left Network conference: "A BLN-led union will fight and win for members"

PCS BEIS picket line, July 2019, photo Paula Mitchell

PCS BEIS picket line, July 2019, photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

Katrine Williams

PCS Broad Left Network (BLN) joint equality officer and PCS NEC candidate

The PCS Broad Left Network conference met on 16 January. It discussed the key questions facing PCS union members, and launched its 2021 national election campaign.

The Broad Left Network is a PCS, socialist, rank-and-file group in which Socialist Party members are active.

The conference agreed a fighting, democratic programme covering the issues of concern to PCS members - from taking on the Tory pay freeze to Covid-19 safe-working arrangements.

A new constitution agreed by the conference makes clear that the BLN is open to all PCS members who want to fight for socialist ideas, a democratic union and a leadership which will meet the challenges its members face.

The election candidates agreed by the conference include a number of Socialist Party members, including Marion Lloyd for president and Dave Semple for vice-president. The full election slate can be found at pcsbln.wordpress.com

Steve Hedley, RMT senior assistant general secretary spoke of how rail bosses were exploiting the Covid-19 crisis by attacking his members' conditions. Steve warned that attacks on the working class as a whole will increase with attempts by the Tories to pass the cost of the pandemic on to workers. It will be necessary, he said, to build alliances across the movement to resist these attacks.

Lois Austin, from Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS), gave a vivid and moving account of how spy-cops, orchestrated by MI5, had infiltrated the labour movement. She called for conference support for the demands the campaign is putting to a hearing on 26 January, for live streaming of the inquiry, and the right to cross-examine witnesses. All labour movement groups and organisations should apply for core participant status, she said.

A campaigning agenda was adopted by the conference, including how we should build the campaign to fight the pay freeze, the attacks on our pensions, and the issue that is at the forefront of every members' mind at the moment - ensuring we are kept safe during the pandemic. An emergency motion opposing the PCS leadership's attempt to hijack the 2021 PCS conference by telling branches what can be discussed, and by placing a limit on branch motions, was also carried unanimously.

Over 1,000 was raised in response to a financial appeal made by current national executive committee member and BLN communications officer, Fiona Brittle.

Marion Lloyd, as BLN chair, highlighted the work of PCS reps in keeping members safe. She said: "Members' understandable preoccupation and concern over the coronavirus will give way to anger at the way they have been treated by this reactionary Tory government. We deserve better. A BLN-led union will fight and win for members."

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 20 January 2021:


News

Make the super-rich pay, not the poorest

Bosses profit out of 'starvation' food parcels

Teachers: On the front line, in their own words

Peace and Justice Project - no way forward for socialism

Millionaire tendency regains control of Scottish Labour

News in Brief


Covid-19

The Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

Covid: Bosses chase profit and put workers in danger

Vaccine confidence - a worker's response

Life in lockdown - being home from school when you're poor is hard


NHS

On the NHS front line


Black Lives Matter

Justice for Mohamud Hassan!

Police use Covid laws to intimidate BLM protesters

New Cross Gate fire 40 years ago


International News

USA in crisis - the need for a socialist alternative

Trump Twitter ban: only independent workers' voice can defeat right


Workplace

PCS Broad Left Network conference

Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future secured following strike action

Morrisons - 10/hr headline hides divisive pay offer

A day in the life of an agency worker

British Gas strike continues


Students

Refund student rent and fees

Plymouth rent strike continues

Scrap fees, refund rents and pay a living grant


Campaigns

London's May elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

Socialist Party national women's meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Christmas Crossword Competition


Readers' Opinion

Books that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier


Obituary

Obituary - Jeff Edwards


 

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Related links:

PCS:

triangleConference 2021: Divide between union leaders and rank-and-file exposed

triangleFight for a socialist leadership in PCS, build a fighting, democratic union!

triangleUnison & PCS conferences Socialist Party fringe meeting

triangleDVLA workers suspend strike for talks

trianglePCS elections - incumbents win, but solid vote for Broad Left Network

Union:

triangleUnite general secretary contest: Vote for Sharon Graham

triangleRedbridge school walkout over victimised union rep

triangleLeft candidate needed for Unite general secretary election

triangleMajority of BFAWU members vote to break from Labour

Socialist:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: NHS - the next steps after the 3 July protests

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Brexit so far and in the next period

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Ireland and the national question

Election:

triangleEnfield byelection: We need councillors prepared to resist

triangleRight lose control in national executive council election

Pay:

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: 15% pay rise and defend NHS - Let's fight to win

Pensions:

triangleLessons of the 2011 pensions strike: when workers showed their power

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