Broad lefts and rank-and-file groups

NEU: a setback and advances

The National Education Union (NEU) Executive elections closed on 29 April. Disappointingly, Workers’ Liberty supporter and victimised rep Tracy McGuire lost the national support staff seat, after a vicious campaign by the misnamed “NEU Left”, who have been as determined to remove her from her Executive role as her employer was to sack her. This deprives the executive of a tenacious fighter for support staff. Tracy has fought to ensure the union fully represents support staff and develops into an industrial union. That is why the “NEU Left” fought so hard to remove her. However disgusting her...

Salford Unison pushes care workers' charter

Salford’s local government Unison branch was the first to win the right to full isolation pay for all care workers in their council area, a victory that triggered others in the North West. Now they have put a series of care workers’ demands to candidates in their local elections: 1. The Foundation Living Wage (currently £9.50/hour) for all Salford care workers. 2. Holiday pay based on normal wages. 3. Sleep-in pay at the Foundation Living Wage rate. 4. Occupational sick pay for all Salford care workers. 5. Publicly delivered social care. 6. A strong voice for workers, those in receipt of care...

Vote for "real change" in Unison

The ballot to elect the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the public services union Unison opens on 4 May 2021. The NEC is made up of representatives elected from Unison’s regions and service groups, plus seats for four Black members, two young members and two disabled members. After left candidate Paul Holmes (above) delivered a strong result in the general secretary election, the left in the union have the potential to make big gains in the NEC election. Unfortunately some of this may be squandered by the inability of much of the Unison left to cooperate. The previous electoral alliance...

DVLA strikes again 4-8 May (John Moloney's column)

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike again from 4-8 May. We’re continuing to fight there over the fact our members are being compelled to come into the workplace, in a way we believe is unsafe. The employer has made some concessions in negotiations, but these relate mainly to changes in the medium-term future, around greater provision for homeworking. We need action right now — centrally for all on-site working, except for emergency and absolutely essential work, to be suspended. We’re also demanding agreements that will give the union direct...

PCS: Vote Independent Left

Elections for the National Executive and other posts in the PCS civil service workers’ union this year run from 22 April to 12 May. The Independent Left grouping in the union, which in 2019 got John Moloney elected assistant general secretary, is running Bev Laidlaw for union president, and a number of candidates for the National Executive and other national positions. It is running a slate in the Department of Work and Pensions group elections, and backing the PCS Rank and File slate in the Revenue and Customs (HMRC) group. The Independent Left platform includes: “a real living wage as a...

What's "left" in the NEU?

The NEU [National Education Union] Left was launched as “a membership organisation” on Saturday 13 March. It was “launched” as a brand over two years ago, at the NEU conference.

Over those two years, it has existed as a nebulous bureaucratic lash up between the Socialist Teachers Alliance (STA)...

PCS "Left Unity" split is finalised

On 26 February members of the civil service union PCS in HMRC (Revenue and Customs) voted overwhelmingly on an 82% turnout to accept a deal which sold terms and conditions for an average 13% pay-rise over three years. This result is not surprising. It is however unfortunate, and illustrates the level of desperation and pessimism on behalf of the membership who don’t have the confidence to win on pay unless they sell their conditions to do so. Following years of top-down leadership, secret negotiations, constant refusal to fight over issues such as office closures and a consequent declining...

Unison left needs unity and democracy

Following the relative success of Paul Holmes’s candidature for Unison general secretary (GS), the left should hope for gains in the elections for the National Executive (NEC). Nominations are open from 1 February to 5 March, and voting will be 4-27 May. However, making the most of the situation needs an open approach to left unity, as a forerunner to a democratic rank and file organisation. Sadly, that has taken a step back after the GS election result. Paul Holmes and the SWP [Socialist Workers Party] have interpreted the result of the GS election to mean there is no need for left unity or...

Civil service: oppose the HMRC pay deal!

HMRC bosses have now announced their long-awaited pay "deal" to staff. The deal presented was the consequence of 15 months of secretive negotiations with union officers and full-timers. Not even the union’s democratically elected HMRC Group Executive Committee was given any details of the deal until late last month. The deal gives above inflationary pay rises in exchange for a bonfire of terms and conditions, including selling weekends to the employer, sacrificing holiday entitlement and ripping-up previous standing agreements protecting call centre workers, among other things. Despite a close...

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