Sunday, 1 December 2013
PCS is a broken union
For the past decade or more since Mark Serwotka became General Secretary of PCS, the union has been dragged to the political fringe to the point whereby it is isolated, mostly ineffective and ignored. Yes there have been some local and Departmental "wins" but on a national scale the decline of PCS is clear to all it's members that it is now in (probably terminal) decline.
Along with Serwotka PCS has been dominated by an alliance of the far-left, itself in the thrall of the Socialist Party along with (until fairly recently) the Socialist Workers Party. Throw in a couple of old Stalinists and some lefty Labour Party types and you get the general picture. In an alliance with another Labour "left" group, the PCS Democrats around Ian Albert and the now thankfully departed Hugh Lanning they have taken the PCS firmly into the political sphere, abandoning almost all pretence of being a trade union.
The decision of the union to "stand and support candidates in the General Election" along with many leading figures of PCS including PCS President Janice Godrich, Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh and Vice President John McInally taking a lead role in in the Trade Union & Socialist Coalition has forced the union into a corner. The General Secretary himself tours the far-left promoting his wares and was for a long time close to, but not a member of the SWP has made it plain that he favours the creation of a new far-left party.
Simultaneously PCS has headed to industrial destruction through promoting unsustainable strike campaigns (for which support has clearly declined) and the unions Socialist Party leaders have been at the forefront of calling for a 24 hour general strike which although has fallen on deaf ears has not helped restore any confidence amongst the members. Nor has it helped with our relationships with other unions.
The banal decision of Mark Serwotka to call for a strike in the UKBA just before the Olympics triggered the inevitable response from the anti-trade union Minister Francis Maude. Although the strike never went ahead the ill thought out remarks by the "dim leader" led to the huge attacks on facility time in the civil service and local government. The job of reps simply got harder.
For those of you on my PCS e-mail lists none of this criticism is new and I will continue to oppose the leadership's ridiculous political grandstanding but there is one change that I have already made in the world of factional politics that exists in PCS.
Last week I resigned as National Secretary of the (politically mainstream) 4themembers group in PCS, a role I have held for the past six years. The group, which currently has four members on the PCS National Executive Committee is in the process of re-organising itself (under Andy Magee & Rob Bowers) but the time has come for me to take a "back bench" role.
This is because I am no longer convinced that PCS can be reformed, in fact it may already be too late to save it short of some kind of "mass revolt" against the current incumbents by members and reps which I also doubt will happen any time soon.
I will continue as Branch Secretary because I have & I will always do the best for my members, but so many have asked in recent months whether there is another union we can join, it does send a certain message to me at least.
Lots have gone already as in (almost) the entire membership in the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Others drift away as I write.
PCS is broken.
Those responsible are the far-left around Serwotka, the Socialist Party, the SWP and those that act as their bag carriers in PCS. And don't let them say otherwise.
Useless, the lot of them.