MEMBERS OF the civil servants' PCS union have massively voted for more democracy in their union. They voted by 31,322 to 18,926 in favour of annual national executive elections. This is an overwhelming endorsement of general secretary Mark Serwotka's stand against the abuse of power by the right wing 'Moderate' dominated national executive.
They attempted a coup against Mark last year. A revolt by the membership which forced a High Court decision stopped them. There is widespread outrage across the union against the Moderates. There will now be fresh national executive elections in May. This will be a huge opportunity to get rid of the right wing forces that have dominated our union for too long.
Over 60 activists met in Birmingham on Saturday at a conference of the Left Unity group to launch a broad-based campaign in the elections. The conference welcomed statements by Mark Serwotka and president Janice Godrich calling for a balanced left slate to fight the election.
It was also agreed to work jointly in the campaign with other groups who resisted the Moderates' attempt to seize control of the union last year. Delegates called for a mass leafleting campaign among the members during the election to secure a democratic and fighting union leadership.
The mass campaigning during the ballot was the key to winning the vote. Motions were passed calling for PCS branches to oppose and mobilise against the war on Iraq, to fight for national pay and against privatisation, and to campaign for a political fund.
Members have also voted for an annual delegate conference to ensure democratic accountability in PCS.
Martin John, PCS branch secretary DWP Head Office, Sheffield
PCS MEMBERS have won a victory in the battle against the victimisation of a union activist. Management tried to victimise Chris Ford, PCS branch secretary in west London for job centres and benefits offices, for his role in defending members during a strike for safety in 2001 and 2002. After a long campaign against him management announced early this week that he was getting a lesser charge. 'I'm not being dismissed,' Chris told Socialist Worker.
'Our campaign stopped that, which I'm happy about.' However management have found him guilty of assault, which Chris denies. 'We'll be continuing with legal action to clear my name,' says Chris. 'It's not over, because I can be dismissed for the slightest misdemeanour. We got this far through strike action. Industrial action can stop these things.'
A MEETING of PCS union reps in London was scheduled for Friday of this week to discuss action over management cuts in job centre and benefits offices.