The NEC is considering whether to hold a pay conference. In principle we are in favour of such a conference as we are in favour of allowing activists and members to have a real say in how a pay campaign is run.
Whether to hold such a gathering though has lead to a split in Left Unity; with some of the Godrich faction saying no and the Socialist Party (SP) arguing for it.
In posting on its website the SP argue:
We argued for an early special delegate conference in the autumn to take stock and determine the way forward.
Counterposed to our proposal and agreed by the NEC was an event planned for the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.
Socialist Party PCS members are concerned that this is too late and means the NEC and senior full-time officers will make decisions without fully consulting reps and members who are responsible for delivering the ballot turnout in our workplaces.
We are concerned that if a special conference is not organised as soon as is practically possible, the pay campaign will be stalled until several months into the new year and momentum will be lost in preparing for the 2019 pay campaign.
We take all of the above with a big pinch of salt. Never in the past has the SP been worried that the NEC and senior full-time officers will make decisions without fully consulting reps and members; indeed it has been the SP’s normal practice for years not to fully consult reps and members – or indeed to consult them at all. Only now have they started to worry about such things; only since the split with Janice Godrich; only since losing its majority on the NEC and only since Mark Serwotka started voicing his criticisms of Chris Baugh.
In contrast our belief in democracy is not a matter of political calculation; something to believe in when convenient.
The SP and Janice Godrich are content to ‘run’ or it may be more accurate to say ‘manage’ the union. Orders come from the leadership and the activists/members’ job is to implement them. This treats members as an inert body to which things are done to, and done for.
In contrast we want the members to be the active ingredient, for them to show local initiative; where activist and members actually do lead. So yes to a pay conference but that conference has to be part of persuading members/activists into self activity.