Posts Tagged ‘trade union link’

Unite-PCS merger in trouble at PCS conference

21/05/2014, 12:32:39 PM

It’s been a busy morning in Brighton, with a debate taking place that will have major implications for the future of the Labour party. The non-party affiliated civil service union, PCS, is having its annual conference and top of the bill for discussion has been the impending merger with Unite.

The PCS NEC proposed a motion that would have allowed them to continue negotiations with Unite, without conditions. The pace of discussions has accelerated in recent months with the merger process now due to complete in January 2015.

However, this timeline may now be in doubt as PCS members rejected their leaders’ motion by a significant majority – 109,326 t0 73,212. A subsequent motion allowing the NEC to continue negotiations subject to minimum conditions did pass on a hand vote, but the warning signal from the PCS membership was very clear: they still prize their independence.

Although PCS has a substantial pensions deficit, its immediate solvency isn’t threatened and questions have been raised by many members as to the benefits of subsuming their union into Unite. The debate in the hall was particularly characterised by hostility to joining a Labour affiliated union with speakers citing the level of civil service cuts implemented by the last Labour government.

Notably, one of the conditions stipulated for future PCS-Unite merger talks is that there would need to be an independent political fund.

PCS members’ suspicion of Labour will heap further pressure on Unite, in addition to its own internal rumblings, to revisit its relationship with Labour.

Recently, Len McCluskey envisaged a scenario where Unite could disaffiliate from the party if Labour lost the next general election. Given the recent polls, and the views of the PCS rank and file, Unite’s long term relationship with the Labour party is now looking increasingly tenuous.

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

We need to strengthen, not break, the union link

26/11/2012, 02:05:03 PM

by Ian Stewart

On the twentieth of November Mark Ferguson over at Labour List published a good article in support of the 150 workers on strike in Swindon in the Carillion/Great Western hospital dispute. It was posted on the same day that saw these workers and their elected GMB union representatives demonstrating and lobbying in London. It was a fine piece, arguing the case of a group of mainly women, mainly Goan employees who have been subjected to bullying, blacklisting and attempts to buy them off over a period of time going back to at least 2007.

The trouble was that the strike is now in its eleventh month. So where were the posts on Labour List, Left Foot Forward, Labour Uncut or any other mainstream site over the past year? Those of us who write and contribute to left wing political blogs can be accused of many things – hypocrisy, hair-splitting, hyperbole – but one thing which many of us need to own up to is all too often ignoring the trades union struggle, that is until conference time.

Aah yes, conference season, when we can all rely the usual suspects to explain to us lesser mortals exactly why unions are a bad thing, and being linked to them will lose us the next election. I am sure that the posts are already written for 2013, with “insert union leaders’ name here” blank – hey, it never gets old does it?

Only it does, it gets very, very old very, very quickly, especially if we are trying to broaden and strengthen our support across the country. Especially as we are trying to turn away from doing things in the old stale ways. For example, consider Arnie Graf and his report – you know the one that was so good, so visionary that I am not allowed to see it. Now one of his main ideas is that we as party members need to be much more firmly rooted within our communities, and to be fostering leaders, rather than sheep for central office to order about. All well and good, but amongst the church groups and community associations, can we please consider those mass membership organisations that foster leadership and self-confidence amongst working class people? If you have forgotten what they are called the name is TRADES UNIONS.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon