Monday, 21 April 2014

PCS President panics over growing opposition to merger

The growing opposition to the PCS/Unite merger seems to have caused some consternation amongst the PCS Grandees, in particular the Socialist Party who are the main force pushing this through. Evidence of their concerns were highlighted by PCS President Janice Godrich who writes (italics);

There has been a lot of traffic on FB sites and elsewhere on the subject of a merger between PCS and Unite and the I am making this posting to ensure that the there is an informed and serious debate. There are activists of course who are genuinely engaging in the debate and are seeking information in order to come to some kind of understanding of the issues involved and that is good, heathly and positive. I wouldn’t expect any less in PCS. However it is equally clear there are others who have decided already, without any debate whatsoever, they will oppose even formal talks on the issue.

There are a lot of reasons why both PCS Reps and members will not want a merger with Unite. Its an issue that seems to cross "party lines" both "left and right", but one thing that seems to be central to opposition is the need for a specifically civil service trade union.

The back ground is this. A few years ago when Unite general secretary spoke at our conference he raised the issue of closer working and even the possibility of a merger. PCS ADC 2013 gave the PCS NEC authority to discuss this is issue if approached by Unite. The period since has been one of intense activity for both unions and it is only in the period prior to Christmas that any talks at all have taken place. These have been reported to the PCS NEC and material has appeared in union publications and a briefing has been sent to branches. 

Just because we "agreed" to closer working with Unite doesn't mean that there is an overwhelming need for PCS to be simply subsumed within another union.

It was only on Thursday 17th April that the Unite NEC agreed continue these talks. An PCS NEC motion sets out a process in order to engage with Unite. It is PCS Conference which will decide whether or not to continue these discussions. More than that the motion sets out the most rigorous democratic process including, full reports to the PCS NEC and branches on the talks, a widespread consultation on any proposals, a special delegate conference to debate any such proposals and lastly, a ballot of members on any such proposals.

Aah, democratic debate. Does this mean that those who oppose the dissolution of PCS will be afforded space in the unions publications and website to present a case against? 

Doubtful. In fact highly improbable since the desire to force through the merger is obviously a political decision taken by the Socialist Party (by their central committee ) and we will probably see the same antics that marred the AGS election to ensure the cowardly Chris Baugh got re-elected.

In PCS the accusation that a merger is either being rushed through or the property of the NEC or “bureaucrats” is not true. Not only is a full democratic debate already taking place any potential merger could only ever take place on the basis of the most thorough democratic discussion throughout the union and on the basis on a democratic “Triple Lock” as outlined above i.e., consultation, special conference and ballot. 

There's that "democracy" word again. The Socialist Party have a habit of trying to censor political opponents through bureaucratic means. The leadership have just introduced new "complaint" rules which cover amongst other things e-mails. 

I wonder who they will target.

It has been suggested that any PCS NEC member who has not mentioned the merger and stated their “position” in their election address should not be supported. How could anyone have a position at the stage when the terms of the proposals have not been discussed or set out to express an opinion on?

For the record I would advocate not voting for Madame Godrich and her useless cronies that form the so-called "Democracy Alliance". They are responsible for the collapse of PCS and an independent voice for civil servants.

They do not deserve to be re-elected.


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