PCS coup set back by the courts

Submitted by martin on 6 June, 2002 - 9:46

From PCS Left Unity.

Legal action case opened on 31 May with a High Court directions hearing. The outcome represents a series of setbacks for Reamsbottom and his backers.

 Firstly it has been decided that Janice Godrich is acting on behalf of PCS. Reamsbottom had presented the situation as an attack on the Union by Janice and Mark.
High Court 31st May 2002

Setbacks for the coup plotters

A full hearing has been scheduled for 15th July. Mark and Janice have been advised that they have a very strong case. They expect to win.

In the meantime, the Court will not of course take a decision about the issues in dispute. They would not take any interim decisions that would imply support for one side or the other. So none of the disputed issues, mainly the validity of the meeting on 23rd May and who is the lawful General Secretary, have been decided. But the Union has to operate between now and the full hearing so the Court has directed the arrangements for that.

Reamsbottom has been obliged to agree not to seek to implement or give effect to the resolutions purported to have been passed by a meeting of the NEC on 23rd May until trial or further order. There are a number of implications from this. All are unhelpful to the Reamsbottom camp. The practical effect will be to strengthen the position of Janice Godrich as President, exercising her powers under the Rules of the Union.

The status quo that existed before the 23rd May has been restored in another important respect. Mark Serwotka remains General Secretary elect, and can carry out the duties allocated to him prior to 23rd May. Reamsbottom remains as General Secretary and can carry out the duties previously allocated to him. 

This is the best possible result from our point of view. No stronger or more favourable decision could have been taken by the court since they will not prejudge the full trial. The Reamsbottom coup has been stopped in its tracks. It has not yet been defeated, but it has been stalled. They will see that we are serious. They will have their own private legal advice on the weaknesses of their case. 

Protests and messages of support continue to flood in. Left Unity material hit workplaces on the day of the High Court hearing. Only a week after the events we got an explanation and campaign material out to workplace reps covering the vast majority of the Union's membership. For some reps this will be the first news about the events. The campaign will therefore take off again as members return to these workplaces after the Bank Holiday and see the leaflets and petition.

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