PCS Independent Left is a democratic organisation funded and run by its members- Socialists within PCS who accept it’s programme. Regular meetings are held at which policy and approach is discussed and voted upon. IL is governed by its constitution which can only be amended by a national membership meeting.
The following motions were debated and adopted by the recent national all-members’ meeting held on 23 July 2016.
- PMR Campaign
This Meeting notes that the NEC has launched a PMR campaign and in principle welcomes such a campaign and very much wishes to see it succeed, especially at a time when many civil service management teams are increasingly persuaded that the current system is burdensome, costly and of little or no business benefit whilst being divisive, discriminatory, a cause of ill health and huge amounts of conflict.
This Meeting further notes that:
- The NEC’s national PMR campaign was launched in June on the PCS website but without prior briefing to Branches;
- The first that representatives knew of the campaign was when they spotted it on the PCS site or were told by another representative or by a member;
- When the Campaign was announced it lacked critical detail, for instance with regard to grievances and test cases;
- Full time officers were not briefed and were therefore unable to answer questions from branches.
- The Week of Action was launched without proper notice and preparation;
- The Early Day Motion has been launched without proper preparation of branches;
- Such an ill-coordinated campaign reduces the ability of very hard pressed representatives who are operating on small amounts of facility time, to promote the campaign.
This Meeting agrees to:
- Encourage local and National civil service Branches and Groups to be very active in promoting the campaign;
- Urge the NEC to ensure that, going forward representatives , including negotiators, are:
- Advised of the explicit aims of the campaign;
- Told how the legal test cases will be managed, with the explicit reassurance that this task will not be left to lay representatives;
- Properly briefed in good time before each stage of the campaign.
- Set out on the IL website a special page on PMR.
Proposed by London group
- Public Sector Group
This meeting notes that at ADC 2016 the NEC opposed motion A16 but it was nevertheless agreed by Conference.
We further note that Conference thereby agreed:
- That It is disappointing that National Branches have not previously received sufficient support from PCS HQ and that in particular they have had limited or no access to support from full time officials and are restricted to the number of combined BEC & GEC meetings that can be held and have been financially penalised for holding too many meetings.
- To instructs the NEC to ensure national branches receive support and are provided with sufficient resources ongoing forward.
This meeting agrees that proper support for National Branches is essential to the effective organisation and representation of many members but is concerned that the NEC’s distinct lack of enthusiasm for doing so, and indeed lack of intelligent thought as to how it might do so, may mean that the resolution is not properly implemented.
This meeting agrees to encourage IL members and other activists in national branches and PSg to write to the NEC for information as to how and when the motion will be implemented and to press the NEC until the resolution is meaningfully implemented.
Proposed by CH
- Labour Party
This meeting welcomes the establishment of PCS Momentum and agrees to:
- Encourage IL members and branch members to join PCS Momentum.
- Publicise its activities.
- Stress the importance to PCS members of a Jeremy Corbyn victory.
- Encourage PCS negotiators to make links with Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet to build support for policies that will benefit members and the wider working class.
Proposed by London group
- International solidarity work
This meeting reconfirms the fundamental position that workers in this country have more in common with workers in this country have more in common with workers in other countries than with ‘British’ senior managers and employers.
Unfortunately this commonality of interest is not reflected in union practice. Thus the PCS only has bureaucratic relations with other unions in the EU and the wider world and has never worked effectively with those unions to real campaigns. Moreover as an organisation PCS has never sought to help in a systematic way trade unionists in other countries who are victimised and oppressed.
Therefore this meeting agrees that IL will put suitable motions to ADC 2017 that:
- Will seek to build effective links with relevant unions in the rest of the EU: links that aim to run real pan-European campaign;
- Put on a systematic footing, working with solidarity campaigns in Iran, Iraq, South and Central America and in any part of the world where trade unionists are facing violence, genuine state oppression and bans. out in the Trade Union Bill that limit even further our already very limited right to strike.
Whilst recognising we are a tiny group with very limited resources, this meeting agrees that IL will try to comply with (2) above and where practicable seek links with real rank and file movements in the EU and indeed in the UK.
Proposed by JM
- European Referendum
This General Members meeting agrees that the IL’s position on the EU referendum has been vindicated by:
- The reactionary and racist nature, most obviously in the Leave case, of the official EU referendum campaigns and the reactionary consequences of the Brexit decision in Britain;
- The absence of any meaningful TU and socialist campaigns for remain on the basis of the defence and strengthening of workers’ rights, democratisation of the EU, defence of free movement of labour, cross European labour movement organisation and solidarity, and opposition to privatisation;
- The way in which politicians and right wing journalists and media owners deliberately conflated the social ills of Britain – resulting from decades of neo liberalism and government policy, – a weak economy, deindustrialisation, decades of deliberate neglect or overturn of public services, diminished trade unions operating in a legal strait jacket – with the European Union;
- The pathetically inconsequential nature of the PCS informs policy, a policy which did not even deal in any meaningful way with the consequences of a Leave vote for our members.
- The obnoxious joy with which the far-right here and elsewhere in Europe greeted the referendum result.
This meeting does not agree that:
- The EU referendum result was a product of “working class rebellion”;
- A leave majority against the wishes of ruling class politicians and owners and bosses of big corporations is automatically, in and of itself, something which promotes a working class or socialist alternative as if we are indifferent as to who is in consequence strengthened (racist and far right parties in Britain and across Europe, other sections of employers, the right wing of the Conservative party);
- The fall of Cameron and Osborne is a source of joy for the labour movement when they are simply replaced by other ruling class politicians, arguably with more right wing and illiberal politics.
This meeting agrees to:
- Carefully explain the nature of the Referendum debate and result on our website from a working class socialist perspective, materials to be approved by the steering committee;
- Explain the utter weakness of the PCS policy during the referendum;
- Instruct the Steering Committee to develop a policy for PCS members in the wake of the EU referendum result, to include:
- Defence of the right of all EU nationals living and working in Britain to retain permanent residency with full equal rights;
- The right of all EU national working in, or for, the civil and public services to retain their employment;
- Opposition to redundancies of PCS members resulting from the Leave vote;
- Assuming “Brexit” is forced through, the redeployment of the many PCS members currently working in EU related roles to similar and other roles e.g. the replacement of European funds by, for example, a similar size regional development policy;
- Active opposition to the scapegoating , racism and hate crime that has followed the Leave vote;
- The defence of the free movement of labour as opposed to the acceptance of trade barriers;
- The defence of workers’ rights (e.g. the rights of fixed term workers; limitations on working hours; those protected by the Acquired Rights Directive);
- The strengthening of links between British and other European trade unions, especially where different national trade unions are organised within the work places of the same employer.
- Build links with socialists and anti-fascist groups elsewhere in Europe.
Proposed by London group
- Democracy in Europe
We now have to acknowledge and accept that the UK has voted to leave the EU. As a consequence we have had our elected MEP’s removed from the chairs of many powerful European committees. Therefore, our influence in moving European politics away from the neo-liberal agenda has been severely curtailed. With this accepted we nonetheless refuse to accept that we have no influence or interest in seeking the democratisation of Europe.
IL should through the structures of the PCS:
- Endeavour to pursue further information and explore the possibilities offered by the Democracy in Europe Movement 25 (DiEM25) and
- Where possible and appropriate to do so, engage and collaborate with these democratising forces across Europe in the full realisation that whether the UK is in or out of the EU the UK remains deeply affected by any changes within European politics as a whole and therefore we need to remain active participants.
Proposed by DP
- Proposal for an Editorial Board – which was adopted on the basis that an Editorial Board is elected at the AGM later this year.
The Editorial Board will consist of 3 members, at least one of whom will not be on the steering committee.
Articles will be submitted to 2 Editorial Board members for review.
Articles should be peer reviewed for publication by at least 2 EB members. If suitable as an Ed piece it will be published within 24 hours without signature, or as an opinion piece with a signature.
In the event of a dispute then the 3rd member should be consulted.
If the dispute remains then the article will be referred to the Steering Committee for a decision.
Proposed by MW