By Annette Mackin in Brighton
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PCS conference votes for guarantees before Unite merger talks

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Issue 2405
PCS conference voting
PCS conference voting (Pic: Alan Kenny)

The PCS union’s annual conference took place between Tuesday and Thursday of last week.

Members rejected a motion put by the PCS leadership that did not outline any guarantees from the Unite union as the basis for merger discussions.

Instead delegates backed a motion calling on the union to ensure that PCS stayed independent of Labour and that its democratic structures stay in place.

Dave Owens from Liverpool introduced the motion. He said, “Keeping our democratic structures is absolutely vital. 

“We are a membership-led union. That is what we need to beat this government.”

Delegates were angry that Unite has said it would not make changes to its rule book. Many likened the merger to a takeover.

“Our political independence and our democracy is what makes us fight for our members,” said Candy Udwin of the PCS National Gallery branch.

Delegates also debated how to rebuild the fight against austerity. Jane Aitchison, a PCS rep in Leeds, supported a motion that called on the union to name 10 July as a day for a national strike. She said, “Members want a fightback and they are not alone.

“For the first time since November 2011, the possibility of mass coordinated action is real again.”

The motion was defeated in support of a general motion that looked to coordinate action without specifically naming 10 July.

A Unite the Resistance fringe meeting on Wednesday titled “Britain needs a pay strike” heard from UCU and NUT members who had been involved in recent strikes.

Conference also voted to support the Egypt Solidarity campaign, set up to support those facing state repression in Egypt.

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