We have received this report of a recent reps’ meeting at which Vice President John McInally spoke:
It was cracking. The debate went on for over an hour. The first twenty minutes was him (John McInally) saying how awful the Tories were and they really hate us.
What he did say which I didn’t know was the Cabinet Office have produced a paper ‘On Responsible Trade Unionism’ which is along the lines of the HMRC excom paper.
He said that we have to make £6.5m savings this year. This is the first time I’ve heard that figure. I asked whether that was based on a 75% re-sign rate? He didn’t respond.
He talked about Unison poaching our members and was particularly scathing about Prentis whom he said was refusing to meet with Serwotka despite repeated requests. This is, of course, the same Dave Prentis of Unison who was puffed up by us at PCS Conference (invited to speak, memorandum of understanding etc).
I was deliberately over the top with my contribution to try and encourage others to have a go.
This worked as everyone else piled into him.
I started by saying for those who describe themselves as democrats, let alone Marxists, the decision was a disgrace.
I said we could have told the TUC we have a financial crisis so they need to waive our affiliation fees this year (last years fees were £688,000). We could have put PCS people (the magazine for activists) on line for a year and that would have saved £700,000. McInally said they were looking at this. I said that the SP should be ashamed of themselves for opposing changes to FTO pay.
I also pointed out that the financial report makes no mention of loss of income through end of check off and that Chris Baugh, Kevin McHugh and Stella Dennis were not fit to undertake their roles (the three of them signed off the financial report).
George Thompson got stuck into him saying they should have consulted with branches and members before selling HQ. He said the Union was turning inwards and wasn’t campaigning on anything. This was particularly important as we were in an election year. What demands were we putting on various parties?
Declan Power said that if the Moderates had done this McInally would have been jumping up and down.
John Mahoney asked why PCS has to dress every defeat up as a victory as members can see right through this.
He then spent the majority of his response in fake indignation about being compared to the Moderates. He was heckled throughout his response. He looked visibly shaken by the end of it. He said he was expecting it but I don’t think he was. A number of delegates afterwards said they thought he was going to smack someone.
To be fair he shook all our hands at the end.
I hesitated to comment on this diatribe, but as I was at the meeting that it purports to report, I felt it necessary to put on record what really happened.
I understand that the Independent Left want to campaign on this issue, but reporting such as this really shows up the desperation of their campaign. If you really feel that this is the most important campaign at a time when the Unions and PCS in particular are under major political attack from the Government you are, to paraphrase the article, a disgrace for people who describe yourselves as Marxists.
The writer, whom I suspect was also the chair of the meeting, contradicts himself by describing other things that John covered rather than “just going on about how much the ‘Tories hate us’”
There was heckling, some from the chair, I’m not sure why this is seen as a cause for celebration, it sounded more to me like people who weren’t prepared to hear anything that didn’t fit in with their preconceived views. As to everyone piling into him, while the majority certainly did, it is clearly an exaggeration as I wasn’t the only one not to do so.
The comparison to the Moderates – and to Barry Reamsbottom by name – was particularly obnoxious and something I felt the need to comment on at the meeting. (It seems to have been lost on the Independent Left that were the Union still controlled by the Moderates, it wouldn’t be facing this attack, because they would have simply accepted all the attacks on our members).
John responded to all points raised and specifically asked if anyone felt that he hadn’t responded to anything to mention it as he didn’t want to leave any question unanswered.
The meeting was robust but friendly and the comments about John looking shaken and about to smack someone sheer fantasy – and comically refuted by the author’s own admission that he shook hands with people on leaving the room.