Union elections

Vote Independent Left in PCS!

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 07:06

Elections for the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the civil service union PCS and for important departmental committees will soon be underway (nominations close 12 March, balloting will run from 16 April to 7 May).

Three sets of candidates will be standing: the PCS Independent Left (IL), Left Unity (LU), and the Broad Left Network (BLN).

The IL, which includes Workers’ Liberty, currently has three members on the NEC and successfully campaigned in 2019 for the election of long standing PCS activist John Moloney as Assistant General Secretary (AGS) on the basis of a workers’ candidate on a

Sorting out the left in UCU

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:11

As UCU members in higher education prepare to strike — action begins on 20 February — voting is underway in both HE and FE sectors of the union for members of the National Executive Committee and a new Vice-President.

The VP election sees a contest between the two long-standing union factions, UCU Left (dominated by the SWP) and the Independent Broad Left (on the right). Margot Hill, the left candidate, is Branch Secretary at Croydon College and has recently led local strikes over pay and conditions. Janet Farrar, her opponent, has no such track record.

It was a surprise to many activists,

A national contract for all school workers

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 09:59
Author

Tracy McGuire

By Tracy McGuire

I’ve just been elected to the support-staff place on the Executive of the National Education Union, in a by-election.

My first priority is unionising as many school support staff as possible into the NEU.

Especially with the election, there are going to be cuts to schools and job losses for support staff.

We need campaigns. We need more support-staff reps, and not just as reps for support staff.

At present the NEU has a support staff conference, but it is entitled only to put one motion to the national union conference. [The system was inherited from the ATL, the union that

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 08:38
Author

Duncan Morrison, Ollie Moore and Jay Dawkey

Lewisham members of the National Education Union (NEU) in primary schools are to take part in an indicative ballot over boycotting high stakes testing. The ballot will run from 6 January for two weeks.

There will be two questions on the ballot, one about “action short of strike” (i.e. the question about the boycott) and a second asking members if they will strike in the event of victimisation of members who take part.

The ballot information summarises the boycott as follows:

“Leadership and teacher members will refuse to administer the year 2 SATs, the year 6 SATs, the phonics test and the

Tracy wins in NEU

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 15:41

Workers’ Liberty supporter Tracy McGuire has won the by-election for support staff rep on the National Education Union’s national executive.

In a three-way election, Tracy won 1,200 votes, 53%, with the rest split almost evenly between the two other candidates. However, the turnout was, at 2270, only 7.7%.

Tracy, a teaching assistant in Darlington with a strong profile in the local labour movement, ran a campaign focused on workplace and industrial issues for support staff – but also raising wider questions including Brexit and migrants’ rights.

As we understand it she was also the only one

Vote Tracy in the NEU!

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 13:13

The election for the Support Staff sector seat on the executive of the NEU is now running and will close on 2 December.

The candidate for the rank-and-file Education Solidarity Network is Workers’ Liberty supporter Tracy McGuire. She is supported by many militant support staff, including the Durham Teaching Assistants’ Value Us campaign.

Tracy says:

  • Support staff should be treated as equal citizens in our Union. That means the NEU fighting for the right to represent and negotiate on behalf of our support staff members at every level.
  • The union should campaign for national pay arrangements

Three candidates, one rank and file

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 12:23
Author

A PCS activist

The election campaign for PCS general secretary has now started, and runs until 12 December.

Before it started, the union closed down the members’ Facebook page, leaving only the main union Facebook page, administered by head office staff. That page has churned out a weekly, sometimes daily, stream of videos of the current general secretary, Mark Serwotka, holding forth on various issues.

Closing down a potential forum for debate, and using the union’s official platforms for blatant electioneering, do not reflect well on Serwotka’s campaign for re-election.

Bev Laidlaw is standing as the

Vote Bev Laidlaw for PCS General Secretary

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:21

PCS has been run by a “broad left” alliance, made up of the Left Unity grouping working with some more right-wing elements, for over 15 years. In that time, after an initial increase, membership has haemorrhaged. In all major government departments, membership has fallen by between 10-50%.

The “broad left” narrative is essentially that, if you elect a “left-wing” leadership, you can simply put your trust in them and everything else will fall into place. The dominance of this narrative has led to a decline in workplace activism and militancy, and a decline in density across all bargaining units

GMB rules hamper democracy

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 08:35
Author

Dale Street

Ballot papers have been sent out to GMB members in the union’s General Secretary election, a choice between the incumbent Tim Roache and the union’s European Officer, Kathleen Walker-Shaw.

That an election is taking place at all is an achievement.

In previous elections only 30 nominations were needed to get onto the ballot paper. But last year’s GMB conference agreed to increase the number of nominations by two thirds, raising the number to 50.

The GMB’s rules also make it notoriously difficult, and deliberately so, for anyone who is not already a union full-timer – such as an incumbent

Second victory at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 08:32
Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

On 21 October our members working for the contractor ISS at BEIS (the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) won a complete victory in their dispute.

This follows a victory for catering staff at BEIS, employed by another contractor, Aramark, on 4 October.

Now porters, security, post room, cleaners and receptionist staff have also won the London Living Wage, improved sick pay, and a number of other conditions.

The victories can be put down to one factor: all-out indefinite strike action, which isn’t that common these days.

At FCO (the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) we’ve

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