Saturday, 16 May 2015

PCS: Crisis, bias and decline

PCS ADC LandingPageGraphic1

Delegates from all over the country are preparing for their trek to the sunny climes of Brighton for the annual Trot Fest otherwise known as "PCS Conference". This years gathering comes at a time of continuing political and financial crisis which still could see the union need to look elsewhere for survival.

The union has lost around a quarter of it's members in it's two largest departments, the DWP and the HMRC as a result of the end of check off with more losses expected as other departments end the practice. There's plenty of "fighting talk" from the comrades of the Socialist Party who have overseen the marginalisation and financial ruin of PCS. Fran Heathcote DWP Group President writes in The Socialist

With the election of a Tory majority, any idea of the decision to remove check-off being reversed is well and truly out of the window.

But reps are working hard to maximise the numbers signed up to Direct Debit and also recruit new members to PCS.

It is easy to feel downcast after the general election result but the left leadership of PCS has shown that we will not be beaten by this hostile Tory government.

Fran and the (mis)leadership of the union of course prepared for the general election by trying to establish a so-called alternative to the Labour Party., The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. They ran 131 candidates and polled a grand 35,000 voted, 0.6% of the vote.

Truly well and beaten from where I'm sitting.

To most trade unionists the need to back Labour was obvious, but not to the self indulgent "socialists" who now bleat about the coming consequences of the Tory victory.

It's one of the reasons that after so many years I finally gave up on PCS as a trade union because it had been hijacked by those who used an "abused" it for their own private political agenda.

Meanwhile there's there's trouble inside the union as the treatment of contrasting cases by the unions leadership causes disquiet. The PCS website reports:

The gallery has confirmed this afternoon Candy has been dismissed after senior managers suspended her on the eve of the first strike in February.

We believe this is a clear case of victimisation and a direct attempt to undermine our union and we will fight it every step of the way......

The 'case' against her was that she shared information about the use of a private security firm with her full-time union official and asked him to take up the matter with the gallery. Something she had every right to do on a matter of such strong public interest.

Nothing there that one could disagree with and trade unions should support a campaign of reinstatement.

A pity the union didn't take the same attitude towards John Pearson, a rep who was sacked for the same reasons. The difference being Candy Udwin is a member of the Socialist Workers Party and part of the grouping that rules PCS with an "iron fist" whilst John Pearson is a member of the small opposition group, the Independent Left.

His supporters write:

PCS members may be aware that the National Executive Committee recently issued a bulletin, headed ‘Support for Victimised Reps,’ allegedly aiming to set the record straight on John Pearson’s case.

The same bulletin also referred to the case of Candy Udwin. This campaign has previously offered its complete support for Candy as we believe that all victimised reps should receive unequivocal support from their union. Follow this link for actions you can take to support her.

It is disgraceful, however, that rightful support for Candy is used to frame a bulletin aimed primarily at justifying throwing John under a bus.

John has responded to the NEC regarding the falsehood, misleading statements and half-truths in the bulletin, and provided us the correspondence which we reproduce below in full. He has also asked the NEC to circulate it as widely as the bulletin it refutes in the interests of balance. The response to this request remains to be seen.

The rest of the article can be read on the PCS Support Your Members website.

John's supporters will be lobbying the opening of National Conference on Tuesday.

Debates to watch out for this week include arguments over the cancellation of the unions elections, financial woes and whether a merger with Unite will still be sought.

Whilst the comrades rant at each other both in the conference hall and the bars of Brighton members will notice how in the large departments like the DWP how little influence PCS on the drastic changes taking place and will rightly ask where there union has been all this time.

No wonder many have sat on their hands and either not signed up for direct debit or joined an alternative union.

No comments:

Post a Comment