Saturday, 26 January 2013

Blow to Socialist Party's PCS strike strategy

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has narrowly rejected a call for a strike in March by a margin of 22 to 20. This means that the attempt by the Socialist Party to utilise NUT along with the PCS to launch "co-ordinated strike action" (or General  Strike) has already fallen flat before the ballot has even started.

In his latest blog piece Martin Powell-Davis, of the NUT Executive and Socialist Party memberbemoans the decision and calls on supporters of the far left to "keep up pressure on the executive". He cites the meeting held at NUT HQ attended by "nearly 300" reps as evidence of support for a dispute in the union.

Powell-Davis also says that the NUT should not wait for the other main teachers union the NASUWT to agree to take part. (Which remains unlikely it has to be pointed out.) Problem is that according to one former leading NUT activist, ordinary members don't want to take action on their own and are fed up of seeing their disputes "undermined" by members of other teaching unions crossing their picket lines because they are not involved in the dispute.

For most teachers the potential involvement of PCS is not seen as important no matter what the comrades might argue. They want other teachers to take part or any dispute in their sector is doomed from the start.

This brings us back to the PCS union led by the Socialist Party. Mark Serwotka has until now always made it clear that "PCS will not act alone", but according to reports coming out of a meeting of the PCS NW Regional Committee this may all soon change.

There was an "indication" that the NEC was "wrong to tie industrial action to other unions" and that "PCS should lead the charge" and go it alone. A prospect that most PCS members would not see as being of any use. It must be remembered that as has previously been pointed on this blog the call for a strike was used by the far left in PCS to launch their 2013 election campaign. I am not alone in noticing this, as Dave Vincent writes (albeit from a different perspective) in the latest issue of the Weekly Worker:

Our members do not want to waste money they do not have on some token action just to make the leadership look good or help the Democracy Alliance retain control in the NEC elections in April-May.

Members of PCS would be ill advised to let the current National Executive Committee to continue in office.

The NEC is dominated by members of the Socialist Party (and their Socialist Worker Party allies), all of whom put their loyalties to their political sects before the members of the union.

There is an alternative in the 4themembers group of politically mainstream trade unionists.

Go to: Now Updated!

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