Defeated Gen Sec rival backs Serwotka campaign

Submitted by martin on 20 June, 2002 - 1:47

Hugh Lanning, the candidate defeated by Mark Serwotka for General Secretary of the civil servants' union PCS, spoke at a public rally in London on 19 June to support Mark against the "coup" which aims to stop him taking office.
Outgoing General Secretary Barry Reamsbottom and his right-wing allies on the union's National Executive have declared, on the basis of "legal advice", that the election which Mark Serwotka won should never have happened!
Although Reamsbottom has never been elected to anything in PCS; although both PCS conference and a ballot of PCS members voted to run General Secretary elections; although Reamsbottom signed a deal under which he would hand over to Mark Serwotka on 1 June 2002 (having held on to office for over 18 months after Mark's election, and in return for a large pay-off); although the PCS conference in May 2002 voted by a huge majority to endorse the handover - although all that, Reamsbottom has declared that he will continue as General Secretary until 2004.
As Hugh Lanning pointed out at the rally, when Barry Reamsbottom was elected to a union position - General Secretary of CPSA, one of the unions which merged to form PCS in 1998 - he got just 13,728 votes. Hugh Lanning got two and a half times more votes as the *losing* candidate in the October 2000 PCS General Secretary election which Mark Serwotka won.
Bob Crowe, General Secretary of the rail union RMT, also spoke to the 250-strong rally of PCS members. He said that the RMT would write to the TUC General Council saying that they do not recognise Barry Reamsbottom as PCS General Secretary, and will be raising the matter from the rostrum at the TUC Congress in September if Reamsbottom attempts to act as General Secretary there.
Mark Serwotka said that he had received messages of support from ASLEF, NUJ, CWU, UNISON, TGWU and NATFHE as well as RMT. Since he had been elected General Secretary of PCS, union membership had been growing at a rapid rate, and this year PCS had had one of its best, liveliest conferences for many years.
He was confident that he would win his case, on behalf of the union, in court; and in any case make sure, whatever happens in court, that the PCS membership do not allow this "coup" to stand.
A court hearing on Friday 21st will decide whether Mark Serwotka's legal case is "on behalf of the union" - and thus to be paid for out of union funds - or not. The costs of the case will be of the order of £100,000.

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