General secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), Mark Serwotka, says trade unionists must take advantage of the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.
Serwotka has been the head of the PCS, the main union representing civil service workers with over 200,000 members, since 2000. He has often been very critical of the performance of the Labour Party but is excited by the election of Jeremy Corbyn and thinks it can make a big difference.
“Potentially this is a historic moment,” he told Socialist Worker. In an extensive interview as part of Socialist Worker’s Debates on the Left series Serwotka said, “We’ve had 15 years of unrelenting hostility and attacks on our members, from New Labour and Tory governments.
“We had Labour in government attacking us and Labour in opposition under Ed Miliband, who clearly found trade unions embarrassing.
“So having a leader of the opposition who is pro-union, anti-war, and anti-austerity and wants a fundamental shift in society is exciting.
“As general secretary I think that, along with Bob Crow, I’ve been the most high profile critic of Labour in the trade union movement. I stand by all the criticisms I made.
“But now there’s an opportunity for trade unionists to operate in an environment where the leader of opposition will use the position to challenge the rich.”