PCS Left Unity election: All votes should count
Socialist Party members in PCS
The voting for the PCS Left Unity elections closed on 23 November. These results determine the Left Unity slate in next year's PCS civil servant's trade union elections for assistant general secretary (AGS) and national executive committee as well as leading positions in Left Unity itself.
The incumbent AGS, Socialist Party member Chris Baugh, who has been in post since 2004 has been challenged by Janice Godrich supported by general secretary Mark Serwotka.
The campaign and the close election results have shown that there are two distinct currents within Left Unity, with two different approaches. Chris's campaign has shown that it wants to ensure that PCS remains a militant lay-led union.
Throughout the campaign and emphasised by Chris at a number of debates, a fighting strategy and positive approach has been given that can take the union forward. Chris won a majority in three of the five election debates that he took part in, with Martin Cavanagh and John McInally deputising for Janice Godrich. This included London, which was attended by Mark Serwotka who argued against Chris.
We thank all those Left Unity members who took part in the debates, particularly those who supported our candidates.
On the AGS election, the interim report indicates 139 votes for Chris Baugh and 167 votes for Janice Godrich. However, Left Unity members are still waiting for the final results. This is because a whole number of votes have been ruled out - some postal ballots and those cast at three voting meetings, including London.
Despite this, the 'interim' results were published. Many Left Unity members are shocked and angry that this was done when there are issues still outstanding. Despite the claims of Janice's supporters in Socialist View, the ruled-out votes could materially affect the results of three key positions: AGS, Left Unity chair and Left Unity editor.
The only way to clarify this is for the full report to be published, with all the results included, along with explanation for those omitted. This is not an attack on the integrity of the scrutineers, as Socialist View claims, but a call for transparency and democratic processes.
Socialist View asks, would it "be acceptable to count votes that fail to comply with laid down, and agreed, Left Unity regulations?" But to us this would be far more preferable than to disenfranchise Left Unity members who through no fault of their own have had their vote discounted.
In at least two of the meetings, we believe that Chris had a majority. The discounted votes at the three meetings could be over 12% of the total vote! These issues could easily be remedied but are a further sign that Socialist View want to move away from the inclusive spirit of Left Unity which encourages genuine debate and can accommodate differing views.
The Left Unity conference is 1 December in Manchester. It is an opportunity for Left Unity members to have their say on the elections and fight for a transparent and democratic process. And the future direction of Left Unity as a militant and socialist rank-and-file organisation.
A statement by Marion Lloyd, chair of PCS Left Unity, in response to the interim results
Regrettably, I have been put in a position where I feel I have to make a statement about the Left Unity elections. This is because the PCS Left Unity secretary Gordon Rowntree has published the interim scrutineers report even though I have raised a number of genuine and legitimate issues.
Gordon has published this report despite me raising several concerns and despite the fact that he proposed to the Left Unity national committee that this should be done at a later date. I agree the interim report should be published, even though the Left Unity constitution states that election results are announced at the Left Unity conference by the chair.
However, I also believe the national committee should be given enough time to respond to the concerns that I raised (and any other concerns raised) and to consider the next steps in the best interests of democracy.
Only four members of the 13-strong national committee responded to agree the publication of the results. The report was then published less than two hours after my initial email (on a Sunday afternoon) and without any majority agreement.
This, in my view, is a blatant attempt to brush over genuine issues I have raised, ignore Left Unity democracy and prevent the national committee from discussing and reaching a view. It has gone against the inclusive left spirit that we have tried so hard to foster.
As things stand, the votes of three Left Unity voting meetings - London, West Midlands and Fylde - have been ruled out because of clerical issues. I am totally opposed to Left Unity members being penalised and disenfranchised through no fault of their own.
There have also been 13 postal votes ruled out. I am of the view that these votes, taken together, could have a material effect on some of the results, including for example the positions of AGS, Left Unity Chair and Left Unity editor.
The margin of votes for editor is only seven. Therefore, it would have been correct to wait until we have the additional information I have requested from the scrutineers before publishing.
This would have then given plenty of time for the national committee to consider the additional information and an opportunity to resolve any issues.
This year's conference is 1 December in Manchester - please come. It is open to all Left Unity members, delegates or not.
I hope you appreciate my reasons for making this statement and support me and others who want to ensure the spirit of Left Unity lives on in PCS.
- Marion had to publish the statement on the Chris4AGS blog because even as Left Unity chair, she doesn't have access to the Left Unity email list
In The Socialist 28 November 2018:
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