Campaign meeting report

Reposted from the other PCS Democracy blog:

This Saturday the campaign held its first meeting at the Mechanics Institute in Manchester.

Over 40 activists were in attendance from over 20 branches.

The meeting was chaired by Annette Wright from Manchester and Salford branch and introduced by John Moloney from DfT London and South East. John spoke for 10 minutes giving a background to the reasons for the campaign, an audio recording of which you can find below (apologies for the quality).

After much discussion and debate the meeting voted to endorse the following positions:

  • To endorse the statement on this blog and continue to encourage branches to debate and pass it.
  • To endorse the statement initiated by those NEC members who voted against the decision.
  • To use our union’s structures to overturn this decision and to refuse – on a matter of principle – to use the certification officer or the law and encourage others to behave in the same way.
  • To write a crib sheet of FAQ’s about the NEC decision. Including alternatives to the suspension of elections.
  • To establish a web discussion forum so branches and activists can keep in touch and share information in the period between now and the end of AGM season.
  • To publisise this model motion for branches to submit to this year’s Annual conference through AGM’s
  • That a group of 5 activists from the North West would act as a temporary secretariat for the campaign.

We continue to encourage branches to support the statement to get involved.

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PCS leadership condemns transparency on election decision

This blog has today gotten a mention from the National Executive Committee, who seem unhappy with our publishing of the NEC paper which informed their decision to suspend elections.

In an update which offers very little new information but reiterates the points made before Christmas, they state:

Following the notification to branches of the NEC decisions, a private and confidential report which had been provided to the NEC was obtained by an anonymous PCS rep or reps and published on the internet alongside criticism of the decisions. The report contained highly sensitive information about the sign up to DD campaign.

It is any rep’s absolute right within our union to criticise NEC decisions publicly and to seek to challenge them through our democratic processes. The recent decisions of the NEC will be held to account at ADC in May. However, it is an act of gross irresponsibility to publish information that will aid the government in its attack on the union. To present the Cabinet Office with internal data on our sign up campaign is severely damaging. It is an unjustifiable act and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

We are big enough to take the reprimand on the chin without shedding any tears.

Though given that the sign up rates for Direct Debit are shared with branches on a regular basis, not confidentially but to inform and motivate the drive to sign people up, members might be forgiven for thinking that the NEC are more concerned about keeping their dealings hidden from those on whose behalf they’re supposed to be acting.

At any rate all members concerned about the suspension of elections are encouraged to move support for this statement in their branch and attend the campaign meeting in the Manchester Mechanics Institute at 1pm on Saturday 17 January.

Read the NEC briefing document here and how their decision breaches the union’s rules here.

PCS branches call for campaign meeting

This site has been launched in reaction to the decision of the PCS NEC to suspend NEC and Group elections for up to 12 months. As the statement makes clear below ‘The sole purpose of this campaign is for NEC and GEC elections to be held to be held at the usual time or if that does not happen then they must be held as soon as possible and for the union’s constitution, as presently drafted, regarding elections to be followed’. This campaign is not factional.

The two undersigned branches call on other branches to support the following statement and send delegate(s) to a campaign meeting in Manchester on the 17th of January:

STATEMENT

The decision by the emergency NEC in late December 2014 to suspend NEC and group elections was wrong.

  • We will work together in a campaign to seek to get that decision overturned and for NEC and group elections to be held at the usual time. If that does not happen then they must be held as soon as possible.
  • We will agree motions or a motion for the ADC that will achieve elections as soon as possible after the conference.
  • We will seek to get as many branches as possible to agree this statement.
  • We will use social media (be it a blog, Facebook page etc.) to gather support for our campaign in the union and in the wider labour movement
  • We accept and respect that each branch will have differing views on who to support in elections. The sole purpose of this campaign is for NEC and GEC elections to be held to be held at the usual time or if that does not happen then they must be held as soon as possible.

ENDS

R&C Bootle St Johns House Branch 
DWP East London Branch 

Please add your branches or your individual support by filling-out the ‘Support the campaign’ box below. Please note by doing so your name or that of your branch will then appear on this site.

There will be a campaign meeting on Saturday the 17th of January in Manchester. This will run from 13:00 – 17:00 at the Mechanics Institute on Princess Street. Map here.