Wednesday, 5 February 2014

PCS: Socialist Party in panic

It seems the entry of Lynda Priestley into the PCS union's Assistant General Secretary election has caused the Socialist Party some concern. Certainly the incumbent Chris Baugh is worried. The Socialist Party have (laughably) carried an "interview" with the poor fellow in the latest issue of their rag The Socialist. Baugh tells his comrades that:

the emergence of a right-wing candidate for AGS makes it even more important for branches to nominate me for AGS and the full Democracy Alliance slate for the president, vice-presidents and the national executive.

Considering he has been the AGS for the last decade you'd think that he'd be firmly entrenched in his position and none too concerned about opposition. After all PCS has been going from strength to strength hasn't it?

Problem is last time he stood for re-election his opponent Rob Bryson came very close to unseating him from his position in the union. As the unions satirical bulletin PFLCPSA  put it back in 2009:

Despite predictions from most sources, especially Left Unity faction bosses, of an easy
ride for the incumbents it was anything but. Chris Baugh managed to get elected as Assistant General Secretary ahead of Rob Bryson by just 0.07% of members eligible to vote.

Given the turnouts in PCS elections are notoriously low and the fact confidence in the unions leadership is at an all time low Baugh may have a problem.

The Socialist Party led PCS has hit rock bottom over the last couple of years, managing to isolate itself from the mainstream of the TUC. In particular Mark Serwotka, the General Secretary managed to bring the Sword of Damocles on the public sector unions with his idiotic threat of a strike before the Olympics.

According to Baugh:

The activist culture that PCS promotes, the leadership we give and the work we do to organise opposition to the austerity programme, means that we are now targeted by the government, particularly Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maud.

Even putting aside the idea of striking on a turnout of just 11%, it is indeed the "activism" of Baugh and his colleagues that the Government have objected to. PCS has become more of a political party than a trade union under Baugh and his mates. They even persuaded the union to "stand & support" candidates" in parliamentary elections. 

The intent is to get PCS eventually involved with the Trade Union & Socialist Coalition, a front for an alliance of the SP, SWP, Bob Crow of the RMT, and a few other nutters.

PCS is controlled by the Socialist Party through a series of alliances known as Left Unity (containing the SWP, SSP, Communist Party etc) and the totally misnamed Democratic Alliance which draws in a few Labour Party malcontents and careerists to the table and ensures control by the hard left.

The union financially sponsors a number of left wing fronts through affiliations and publicity like the Youth Fight for Jobs (SP), Unite the Resistance (SWP), National Shop Stewards Movement (SP), Stop the War Campaign and the pro Hamas Palestine Solidarity Campaign just to name a few.

At the same time PCS is in dire financial straits. Chris Baugh as AGS is err, actually responsible for the unions accounts which have been frittered away on pointless activity not aimed at members interests, but precisely those of the activists that he represents.

Things will only get worse. Baugh and his Socialist Party are part of the problem.

The political mainstream may be in a flux at the moment, but a start on the road to recovery can be made by supporting Lynda Priestley as the alternative candidate for Assistant General Secretary.

If your PCS AGM hasn't been held yet, please get your branch to nominate Lynda.

The fightback starts here!

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