NEC NEWS AUTUMN 2016
PCS Democrats are the only PCS factional group to have consistently supported the election of a Labour Government over the last 14 years. We supported Labour when it was less popular to do so amongst PCS activists. So some of the recent turmoil in Labour is desperately disappointing after the EU Referendum result.
The PCS National Executive (NEC) met last week. There was unanimity on the bargaining issues we need to take forward post Brexit. There is a clear need to stop the cuts and properly staff the new work needed. There are clear actions to be taken forward, alongside TUC, to oppose racism and hate crimes.
But the NEC also decided:
"while PCS is not an affiliated union and we continue to remain independent of any political party, we believe PCS members' interests are best served by Jeremy Corbyn's continued leadership and offer our support in preventing his opponents from unseating him".
PCS Democrat members of the NEC voted against this particular recommendation.
We welcome the commitments made by Jeremy on national pay bargaining and facility time, amongst other things. We recognise the consistent support offered by Jeremy to PCS campaigns.
We oppose some of the reported name calling on both sides of the debate about Jeremy. Some of the stuff on social media is horrific, including from PCS members. This is just not acceptable. PCS must be better than this.
But sometimes there are even bigger principles. And this is not about whether Jeremy is a good leader for Labour or not. That is for Labour Members and affiliates.
PCS Democrats have regularly emphasised the importance, in what is still a largely civil service union, of maintaining our political independence of any party or person. This is a fundamental issue for us and many members. Nevertheless, PCS Democrats have always supported the cross-party PCS Parliamentary Group. Its value is undeniable in gaining influence for members with key decision makers.
But PCS Democrats opposed the idea previously of running our own candidates or supporting party candidates in elections. Indeed, this idea would have mainly impacted Labour and lost us influence.
Despite our support for the Labour Party individually, PCS Democrats oppose any suggestion that PCS works toward or considers Labour affiliation. We believe this may risk losing us the support or even membership especially in some of the more specialised sections of the union. Indeed a relatively non-controversial NEC motion which contained a reference to Labour affiliation was only narrowly carried at our recent conference.
And on political independence grounds, PCS Democrats opposed the motion to affiliate to Momentum, Jeremy's support group. We saw this as an affiliation to Labour by the back door. We were glad to see it defeated overwhelmingly.
PCS Democrats do not believe that PCS should be taking a stand on Jeremy's continued leadership. This is a dangerous principle in support of someone who could be our "employer".
We recognise that this may not be popular with some PCS activists or our Democracy Alliance partners, Left Unity. But there is real danger that we will lose members completely or to FDA or Prospect.
If we thought the principle of supporting Jeremy was right, we would happily make the stance and explain it to members. But it's wrong in principle and is a dangerous step for PCS to take.
We whole heartedly hope that the current talks within the Labour Party can reach an agreed outcome and heal the rifts.
© 2017 PCS Democrats