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From: The Socialist issue 944, 12 April 2017: NHS: Walkouts can win

Search site for keywords: PCS - Election - Democracy - Union - Government - Austerity - Pensions - Pay - Privatisation - Candidates - Closures - Marion Lloyd - John McInally - Cuts - Land Registry - Janice Godrich - Public sector - facility time - Public services - National Gallery

PCS election: Vote Democracy Alliance

PCS union activists protesting against the public sector pay cap, 31.3.17, photo Chris Newby

PCS union activists protesting against the public sector pay cap, 31.3.17, photo Chris Newby   (Click to enlarge)

Marion Lloyd, Left Unity chair and PCS NEC member (personal capacity)

The ballot for the 2017 national executive committee (NEC) election of civil servants' union PCS opens on 20 April and closes 11 May.

The ballot of the PCS's almost 200,000-strong membership is significant because the left-led PCS is widely recognised as one of the most consistent, outspoken critics of the government's austerity programme. It is also seen as a leading exponent of action against government attacks.

PCS has been transformed into a fighting, campaigning and democratic union under the leadership of the Democracy Alliance - an alliance between Left Unity (which includes Socialist Party members) and the PCS Democrats.

The Democracy Alliance candidates are seeking re-election based on their leadership of the union and record in office:

Under the leadership of the Democracy Alliance, in the last year alone we have stopped the privatisation of Land Registry, defended jobs and stopped office closures in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, forced concessions on the hated performance-management system, and protected members in the National Gallery.

PCS is a democratic union. Its leadership is elected annually and the union's policies are agreed by the PCS annual conference.

The union has faced a series of unparalleled and vindictive attacks from the government which have included the withdrawal of facility time from union reps, and the removal of check-off in a failed attempt to bankrupt the union.

The union has withstood these attacks, and its Democracy Alliance leadership will not be deflected from doing what is necessary to protect members' interests and more generally defend the interests of working people.

Nor will PCS be silenced or persuaded into inactivity by the proposition that we should lay low and wait for a Labour government.

The election and re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party is hugely welcome. But there is strong resistance from the right wing in the Labour Party to his leadership and policies, so all our hopes cannot rest on Labour. Also we still have to face the Tories from now until 2020 or whenever the next general election is.

The Democracy Alliance NEC is opposed, in these elections, by an alliance of ultra-lefts. Their published differences with the current leadership of the union are not of sufficient significance to justify them standing against us in these elections. We should be uniting to defeat the government.

The ongoing fight against the pay cap, office closures - mainly in the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revnue and Customs - and job cuts is set to be the major immediate issue facing the union. The scale of the challenges PCS faces is huge. A strong, determined leadership is crucial.

It is vital that Democracy Alliance is returned to lead the union and defend members' interests. We call on members to vote for Democracy Alliance candidates. And we call on all socialists and activists who are serious about fighting back against the Tory austerity programme to join PCS Left Unity.

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