by Steve Ryan
Delegates from all branches of PCS met in Brighton last week for the Annual Delegate Conference.
Buoyed by the court decision that the changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme were unlawful, the spirit was positive.
Conference passed a range of motions. Significant were those on public spending cuts with PCS committing to a “wave of resistance “ linking up with other unions and interested parties. ‘No to pay freezes and cuts’, also.
Also conference passed , despite NEC opposition, a motion expressing support for workers’ self management (moved by a supporter of The Commune!) Interestingly, support was overwhelming and a call for remittance voted down!
Support and agreement to a delegation being sent to support Greek workers was passed, as were resolutions on continuing the anti fascist work of the union.
John McDonnell and Caroline Lucas MPs spoke eloquently and with passion.
All told, the conference left the delegates feeling upbeat!
However, with union general secretary Mark Serwotka ill in hospital and turn out for the NEC elections standing at only 10% there is much to do. Radical voices outside of the stranglehold of Left Unity were rarely heard or supported.
PCS is a progressive union but it faces a huge challenge this year. The NEC need to ensure they have a clear and robust strategy to progress conference policies, something that has been lacking in the last few years. Left Unity needs to be more open in its acceptance of debate and criticism.
Mostly though communists in the PCS should be arguing and debating with members as to the tactics and strategy needed to fight back against the cuts, and linking up with other workers in their locality, forming solidarity committees.
The cuts proposed by the Con-Dems are sweeping. The fight back must be uncompromising as in Greece and elsewhere. Such a time is ideal to progress ideas of workers’ self managament and communism from below as a clear alternative to capitalism.