The ruling Left Unity faction in the civil service union PCS is in turmoil, with the Socialist Party (the main force in LU) withdrawing support from Jane Aitchison, union president in the union’s most important sector, the Department for Work and Pensions.
Aitchison, a long-time member of the SP, has resigned from it.
The SP has said nothing publicly about this. First reports inside the union were that the SP had turned against Aitchison because she and her partner Rob Williams (also an SP member, and a PCS Exec member) send their daughter to a private school.
Later reports are that the SP blames Aitchison for the failure of the PCS’s DWP Contact Centre Campaign. She refused to accept the employers’ first offer despite advice to do so from senior SP people in PCS, and now the union has accepted a second offer worse than that first one.
An AWL member active in PCS DWP comments: “the main reason for the failure of the campaign was a complete lack of communication between negotiators and branches or members. We have gone months without a peep”.