PCS elections: increased support for Broad Left Network
Katrine Williams, PCS DWP group vice president (personal capacity)
Nominations for the PCS union president and national executive elections closed on 11 March. Details of branch nominations have now been published and these show increased support for the Broad Left Network - left rank-and-file group supported by Socialist Party members.
The Broad Left Network presidential candidate, Socialist Party member Marion Lloyd, received 42 nominations from all parts of the union. Incumbent president Fran Heathcote received 70 nominations and the other candidate Bev Laidlaw 19.
The 2020 PCS elections were cancelled at the nominations stage - a decision which Broad Left Network supporters opposed. The 42 nominations secured by Marion Lloyd this year is an increase on her 2020 total of 40. This contrasts with nominations for her opponents which have not increased.
From the nominations, both in terms of the number and spread across the union's membership groups, it is clear that Marion Lloyd is the candidate best placed to challenge Heathcote. It is also clear that her increased nominations reflect a mood in the union for a fresh approach - for a leadership that gives members the confidence and the means to fight on the issues that matter to them.
We call upon activists to unite behind Marion's candidacy and the full Broad Left Network slate for a union democratically controlled through its elected lay structures, and a leadership which will actively coordinate across the union our fight on Covid-19 safety, pay, jobs, pensions and office closures.
The PCS postal ballot for president and national executive opens Thursday 22 April and closes Thursday 13 May.
Support Marion Lloyd for PCS president. Support the Broad Left Network-supported slate of candidates for the PCS national executive. For more information see pcsbln.wordpress.com.
Stop press: DVLA workers four-day strike
At a Zoom meeting held on 18 March, PCS members at the DVLA voted by 96% for a four-day strike commencing on 6 April. This comes not a moment too soon, with reports from members at the DVLA contact centre in Swansea that the NHS app is starting to ping again, threatening another Covid-19 outbreak unless urgent action is taken. It was at the contact centre that a major outbreak affecting over 300 staff (a third of the contact centre workforce) took place in December.
The PCS leadership has now indicated that, alongside the industrial action, they will invoke Section 44 on behalf of strikers. This is a complete U-turn from their previous position when they argued that Section 44 could only be used individually. Broad Left Network members have consistently argued that the national executive committee should give a lead and use Section 44 on a collective basis.
In The Socialist 24 March 2021:
Fighting Sexual Harassment
Paris Commune 150 Years
2011 Pensions Strike