PCS elections: Support the Broad Left Network for a democratic, fighting union leadership

The ballot for PCS president and the union’s national executive committee opens on 21 April and closes 12 May. PCS is the union for government workers in the civil service, public sector and outsourced contracts.

The PCS socialist rank-and-file group, the Broad Left Network, is standing Socialist Party member Marion Lloyd for president, and candidates for vice-presidents and the national executive committee.

Our coverage of this important election includes an interview with Marion Lloyd, along with the full Broad Left Network slate, and an outline of the Broad Left Network programme – more details about the Broad Left Network are available at pcsbln.wordpress.com.

The Socialist urges support for the Broad Left Network in this election for a democratic, fighting union leadership.

Marion Lloyd has received 45 branch nominations in this election from all parts of the union. Marion’s nominations have increased this year, while those for her opponents have gone down. Marion is currently BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) group president and is in the strongest position to challenge the incumbent national president, Fran Heathcote.

Marion spoke to the Socialist and explained why she believes PCS members should vote for her and the other Broad Left Network candidates in these elections.

Vote Marion Lloyd for PCS president

Why are you standing for president?

We need change at the top of the union. We desperately need a leadership that is serious about tackling the very destructive attacks that PCS members are facing, and will continue to face, if our employers have their way.

For example, I and others, supported by the Broad Left Network, called for a collective response if the employer failed to take the necessary measures to keep us safe during the pandemic, rather than put members in the untenable position of having to decide whether they were prepared to take individual action or not.

It became very clear to us right at the beginning of the pandemic that the current leadership was too cautious, and was not prepared to organise a serious campaign to keep members as safe as possible.

It was very much left to us at local level to put the management under pressure, to put in place the necessary arrangements such as wholesale working from home, to make sure we kept members safe. Only months later, in the face of a serious outbreak at the DVLA in Swansea, did the current leadership finally act. Despite the inadequate response of the union’s leadership, members fought bravely.

This cautious approach became even more apparent when, out of the blue, the general secretary Mark Serwotka, supported by current president Fran Heathcote, informed the employer that the leadership had ‘parked’ the union’s 2020 national pay claim. I can’t interpret this as anything but bowing down to the idea that we should all pull together during a crisis – ‘national unity’ with the Tories.

But what this has done is strengthen the employer, who have not stopped their attacks against workers, including PCS members. It has meant that the leadership also gave the green light to the employer that there would be no united response to their continued attacks against us, and in fact signalled that they were prepared to sell conditions for pay, rather than fight the Tory pay restrictions.

The national executive committee majority slavishly went along with all this – we need a leadership prepared to stand up to the employer and prepared to confront the very serious challenges we face.

In our privatised areas, many members barely scrape the minimum wage. This is scandalous. We need an almighty campaign for proper pay rates in these areas so that people can make ends meet.

The insistence of our current leadership to have a campaign only on pay and, as an afterthought, pensions is wrong. Surely the most sensible thing to do is to link everything together and include issues such as jobs, a safe working environment, office closures and shorter working week.

That’s why I’m standing – to work with members and reps to build a campaign which inspires confidence and gets members involved.

What issues are of the greatest concern?

Where do l start? There are so many.

Covid has not gone away. In some areas cases are yet again creeping up, and the union must organise collectively to respond to any forced working in unsafe offices.

The government has now announced a further clampdown on pay. The more realistic inflation rate of RPI is soaring to 9%. Other unions like Unite use this definition but the PCS leadership wrongly quote the CPI figure used by the Tories, but even that is running at 7%. We must now build on the work that has been started, but with a serious campaign to help us win – not just on pay, but on all the other issues we are facing day in and day out.

Faced with record inflation and energy bills going through the roof, members feel isolated and left to fight alone. Poverty pay levels within our membership are appalling. 10% of civil servants earn below the living wage.

The latest stage of the so-called PCS national campaign was a consultative ballot. Members were asked whether they supported the national claim for a 10% pay rise and a demand for the return of overpaid pension contributions.

The turnout was 45.2%, some 70,000 PCS members, with 97.3% supporting the pay claim and 80.7% willing to take industrial action to achieve it. This is a strong result against the background of a lacklustre, top-down campaign and leadership inaction over the last two years.

Most importantly, it is the basis for a broad campaign on pay and other issues, leading to a statutory ballot for action which will be necessary to take on and defeat government attacks. We are not alone, other public sector workers are in the same boat. We need a coalition of the willing to act together.

Jobs, work pressures, and office closures are shared concerns across the government departments our members work in. For example, in the DWP, management has announced 48 office closures, a large number of fixed-term workers face the sack, and work pressures are growing. Broad Left Network supporters are leading the fight on all these issues and heading up a rank-and-file campaign to put pressure on the group leadership to act.

The environment must now also be central to our concerns. The school students led the way and l would want to see our union placing climate change and the steps needed to avoid a catastrophe at the heart of our bargaining agenda.

Similarly with equality. There is no place in our union for discrimination of any sort. Unity is what makes us strong.

We must develop a campaign around all these issues that everyone can get behind and have confidence in. I would build that, working with reps and members and go out to the heart of our membership.

What’s your position on the forthcoming local elections?

Like many of our members I want to see people elected who stand on a programme to reverse pay decline and job cuts. I have no faith in the Labour Party under Keir Starmer to do that.

It leaves a particularly nasty taste in my mouth to see so many Labour councils implementing cuts, leading to outrageous attacks on their workers, such as in the current Coventry bin workers dispute and previously Tower Hamlets council’s use of fire-and-rehire against its workforce.

I will vote for any candidate that stands against austerity and opposes all cuts. In my area that means the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which is standing in many areas across Britain.

I oppose affiliation to the Labour Party. Keir Starmer has driven out every scrap of  Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto and even Corbyn himself. The Labour Party is back to what it was under Blair and Brown. They did us no favours: we remember the Blair and Brown governments that cut 100,000 civil service jobs, privatised jobs, and gave our members away to rotten companies which ruthlessly attacked our members’ jobs, pay and conditions.

Many of the MPs who supported these policies and moved against Jeremy Corbyn are still around – why would we support them? We are a trade union – not an extension to the Labour Party – and both my opponents in this election would do well to remember that.

PCS should only support candidates that support us – in both national and local elections. And PCS should discuss how to build working-class political representation with other unions such as Unite, the bakers’ union BFAWU (which has recently disaffiliated from the Labour Party) and the RMT (which is represented on the steering committee of TUSC).

What one change would you make?

There are loads of changes l would want to make but getting rid of the Tory anti-union laws would be high on my list. In a capitalist system the dice are heavily loaded against workers. Being able to join together and take action, to inflict damage on an employer, evens things up a bit. The Tory laws severely limit the ability of workers to take action.

Right-wing commentators and the bosses support these laws, they say the unions are too powerful. Well tell that to the sacked P&O workers! Solidarity with these workers, abolish the Tory anti-union laws, and let’s make the Trades Union Congress demonstration on 18 June a massive event – a show of the strength of organised labour.

Under our opponents the union has lost hundreds of reps. They have betrayed thousands of fixed-term staff in DWP. We stand for a union that will fight for all members all of the time. Solidarity is not just for election time.

David Semple, DWP vice-president candidate

Broad Left Network candidates stand on a solid programme for action, with concrete plans for developing the union’s industrial strength. The current leadership have been unable to deliver for members. Instead they dress up unsuccessful ballots as victories and cheerfully encourage members to vote for pay deals that eviscerate their terms and conditions. Members notice their lighter wallets and longer hours – it’s time to actually do something about it.

Fiona Brittle, Scot Gov vice-president candidate

We need a PCS leadership that’s capable of engaging with members, of organising with branches and groups to deliver a national campaign that will win for members. I’m standing to be part of that change for action, not just words.

Jon-Paul Rosser, HMRC vice-president candidate

I’m proud to be part of and supporting the Broad Left Network, to achieve the best for members we need to be a campaigning and organised member led union and am confident with Marion and the Broad Left Network we can be that union.

Sarah Brown, Met Police vice-president candidate

Broad Left Network slate

PCS Socialist Party members support the Broad Left Network and call upon union activists and members to vote for these candidates in the ballot 21 April – 12 May.


Lloyd, Marion (BEIS)


Brittle, Fiona (Scot Gov)

Brown, Sarah (Met Police)

Rosser, Jon-Paul (HMRC)

Semple, Dave (DWP)

Executive council

Bartlett, Dave (MOJ)

Bridges, Andi (HMRC)

Brittle, Fiona (Scottish Government)

Brown, Alex (NHS Digital)

Brown, Sarah (Met Police)

Davies, Jaime (HMRC)

Denman, Kevin (Met Police)

Dennis, Alan (DSG)

Doyle, Nick (HMRC)

Exley, Matt (Culture Sector)

Foxton, Gill (DfE)

Francis, Sue (UKSBS)

Heemskerk, Rachel (DWP)

Lloyd, Marion (BEIS)

McDougall, Rachelle (Crown Office)

Parker, Nick (ACAS)

Rees, Dave (DWP)

Ritchie, Rob (Met Police)

Rosser, Jon-Paul (HMRC)

Semple, Dave (DWP)

Suter, Paul (DWP)

Tweedale, Saorsa-Amatheia (DWP)

Williams, Katrine (DWP)

Worswick, Craig (DWP)

Young, Colin (DfE)

Young, Bobby (HMRC)

Broad Left Network programme

The Broad Left Network is a PCS rank-and-file members group formed by socialists to challenge and replace the current failed union leadership.

  • The key issues the Broad Left Network is standing candidates on include:
  • 100,000 new civil service jobs to ease pressure and workloads in all departments and agencies
  • A 10% pay rise, minimum, to reverse the fall in wages due to rising prices since 2010
  • Civil Service offices to stay open – maintain jobs and investment in local communities
  • Renew our fight on pensions, 68 is still too late, we pay too much and get too little
  • Return of all outsourced work – no more privatisation
  • No discrimination – equality proof all HR policies and pay systems
  • Safety paramount – union agreement on home/hybrid working
  • A strong political voice – PCS should back candidates who back us

The Broad Left Network calls for an integrated national campaign on all the major issues of concern to members across all government departments. A campaign leading to a statutory ballot on the action needed to defend members from continuous Tory government attacks on pay, pensions, jobs and office closures. The Broad Left Network calls for PCS to actively seek unity in action with other public sector unions.

  • For more information about the BLN go to pcsbln.wordpress.com