One of our comrades attended the 2012 YMF; here is their report back.
The 3rd – 5th February marked the seventh annual PCS Young Members Forum, a delegated event that although constitutionally an AGM for the Young Members Network, is effectively a training and networking event for young activists. I’ve been to the last four Forums now, and in and of itself it is positive, however, it is not a policy-making conference, and therefore despite it being considered in line with PCS’ Equality Strands, it has no way of defining its own policy, which is key to liberation campaigns.
As usual, the speakers were mostly either Socialist Party members or people from affiliated SP front groups like Youth Fight for Jobs. Refreshingly, one panel discussion on Youth Cuts did feature a school student from UK Uncut, and an NCAFC speaker was invited but unable to attend.
Much of the discussion focused on the pensions dispute, though no reference was made (except by myself) to the fact that all young staff are on the much worse ‘NUVOS’ pension scheme due to the settlement made by the SP and Left Unity led leadership in 2007, which sold out all new starters.
Interestingly, Chris Baugh (Assistant General Secretary and SP member) demonstrated what seems to be a change in direction for the SP with regards to further action. Their previous line was ‘maximum unity with other unions’, but he now says they are seriously considering rolling, selective and other types of action alongside joint strike days. There was mention of this being a change of tack, but it will be a welcome development if it is actually carried out.
There was considerable interest in turning this into a voting conference and it is important to discuss this idea further over the year in the Young Members Network. Liberation campaigns have to be autonomous in order to be fully democratic and representative.