For a self proclaimed organising union, membership levels both in absolute and relative terms remain well below pre-check off levels despite the enormous efforts of activists and some full time officials. Our organising work has no focus, nor national direction.
For a campaigning union, the pay campaign is pretty dire, with no pace, nor imagination (how many times do we have to take pay day pictures?) nor apparent purpose. On the grapevine we are told that branches must be ballot ready in four months but as yet the activists and members have not been told this, nor has a plan been mapped out as to how we get to that ‘ready’ state. Although we have Group and branch data on turnout from the indicative ballot, that will not be openly released in case the government work out where we are weak. Firstly they know already and more importantly branches cannot improve things unless they know the scale of the task before them.
For a membership lead union, activists still have to gain permission from Full Time Officers (FTOs) to do anything of substance e.g. get legal advice, take action etc. Of course with reorganisation after reorganisation, FTOs come and go. FTOs pitches get ever wider and so they cannot properly help activists in each of their areas, which of course leads to frustration all around.
For a self proclaimed political union, PCS takes no part or indeed side in political events such as the last general election (where owning to sectarian reasons the NEC refused to recommend a vote for Labour) or in the EU referendum.
For a union where the overwhelming majority of the NEC say that they believe that full time officials should be on a workers wage, all FTOs remain on many times the workers wage. The pay gap between the two senior union officials and membership wages remains grotesque and is increasing (1% of a high wage is much better than 1% of a low wage).
For all the above reasons, there has to be a change. The current leadership seemingly does not recognise how bad things are; perhaps their self proclaiming of how left wing they are, how much better than they are than other unions, has blinded them to the truth.
In the PCS Independent Left, we recognise the truth; a truth that punches you in the face most days. That is why we want a radical change to the union. A union where slogans are actually practised in reality and are not just a series of empty phrases. That is why we are standing in the NEC and certain group elections.
We of course are not naive enough to believe that if we were to win positions then things would change for the better overnight. Our winning would be a first step. The key thing we want to do is activate the ‘activists’ and the membership. We actually do believe in a membership lead union and our aim is that this happens in reality rather than in rhetoric. If you want that too then please support us in the union elections. If you want that too why not join us? On to a better union, vote IL.