Our union cannot remain neutral on political questions. Not only does politics have a direct impact on the job we do, on whether our jobs are secure, on the pay rise we are offered, and so on, it also shapes our lives as working class people and the communities that we live in. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and ableism are rooted in the dominant politics of our society, and as a class we need to have an answer to that.
1.1 Putting politics in members’ hands
The PCS Parliamentary Group does great work lobbying on members’ behalf, and we should see this continue. However, this is often far removed from members and not as well publicised as it could be. We need to ensure members hear of this activity and see what we are pushing for through this work. But we should also put politics directly into the hands of branches and look seriously at how we can use protest and direct action to put pressure on MPs who are acting against PCS members’ interests.
1.2 For agreements, not understandings
A Labour government with the policy platform it established under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is in the interests of PCS members, particularly in comparison to successive previous governments. The party has made a number of statements about what they would do when in power that benefits us, but of course if they were to get elected on such a platform there would be immense pressure on them to act in favour of different interests. The union should seek to secure concrete agreements on policy positions the party will announce when they take power.
1.3 No shortcuts: beyond party politics
Regardless of which government is in power, or how friendly to our interests they may be, PCS needs to have a strategy to build our own independent power and to be able to press our interests where they are in opposition to those of any government. Our political, organising and bargaining strategies must be linked and geared towards building this power base.