At its summer general meeting the Independent Left (IL) made the decision to stand a candidate for the Assistant General Secretary (AGS) election, which will take place next year.
This is to allow members a real choice between the status quo (as represented by Janice Godrich and/or Chris Baugh) or radical change in the union.
Our candidate will stand on a worker’s wage – they will not accept the £90K that is on offer.
Both Janice Godrich and Chris Baugh are content for PCS to remain a typical TUC union.
So full time officers (FTOs) are paid wages that many PCS members can only dream of, there are no elections of FTOs beyond those required by law and there is top down organisation where branches and activists have to ‘go’ to FTOs to get things. Most conference motions passed remain unactioned and the members are there to do the things that the leadership wants; to be switched on when needed (to vote in the strike ballot) and to be switched off when not (as between the end of the consultative ballot and the beginning of the ballot campaign proper – our only role being to arrange increasingly pointless pay day demos).
Neither candidate recognise the state that the union is in. Unfortunately failing to reach the legal threshold in the pay strike ballot does not seem to have acted as ‘wake up’ call to either of them.
In contrast we want all FTOs on wages that are the same of those they serve; all FTOs who represent members to be elected; for PCS to be really a membership lead union; for the union to back members and activists who want to fight, rather than act as a brake; for the union to be open so members are told in detail what the union is doing; for lay officials to lead all negotiations and for democracy to be more than just annual elections and conferences.
We recognise that losing the strike ballot demands a fundamental re-think of how we organise and work. We truly do ‘get it’.
Electing our candidate will not be enough but we have the choice; more of the same or a start towards radical change.