Over the last few months, Left Unity, the broad left organisation within PCS, has been conducting a ballot to choose its nomination for the forthcoming PCS general secretary election.
At the union’s annual conference, Mark Serwotka, the incumbent, announced he was prepared to stand again for election. Mark, as the left candidate, was first elected general secretary in 2002 after defeating Hugh Lanning of the Membership First faction. It was a historic turning point for the union.
Mark has been re-elected three times, twice unopposed. Under his leadership, the union has been transformed from one of the most right-wing unions in the trade union movement to one of the most left-wing.
The Socialist Party (SP), which at one stage had great influence within PCS, has now been largely sidelined as a result of its growing sectarianism. SP member Chris Baugh was defeated earlier this year in the election for Assistant General Secretary. The fallout from this resulted in many active SP members resigning from the party. This was compounded by the recent big split in the CWI, of which the SP is a key player.
As a result, the SP has become extremely embittered and hostile towards Mark Serwotka. Following the SP’s recent defeat in the AGS election, they set up a new Broad Left Network (BLN) grouping within PCS, to campaign against Serwotka. They put forward Marion Lloyd to challenge him for the Left Unity nomination for general secretary.
However, given her low level of support, she decided to pull out of the race, crying foul over the election process. These allegations have no foundation. The SP’s motto has now become “rule or ruin”. In the end, within Left Unity, Mark Serwotka received 16 nominations, as compared to Marion’s 4 and Hector Wesley’s 1.
When it came to the vote to choose the LU candidate between Mark and Hector, the SP called amazingly for a “protest vote” for Hector.
In the past, the SP would never have supported Hector’s candidacy for the LU nomination. It was a case of clear opportunism and highlighted the SP’s strategy of “Anyone but Serwotka”.
However, this negative strategy backfired big time. In the election for the Left Unity candidate Serwotka gained 143 votes to Wesley’s 40 votes, and was duly elected as the official Left Unity candidate.
Now the die has been cast. The left in PCS has a responsibility to get behind Mark for the union’s general secretary election. Socialist Appeal comrades will do their bit to ensure Mark’s victory.
The timetable for the GS election is as follows:
- Monday, 2 September - Call for nominations
- Monday, 14 October at 5pm - Deadline for receipt of completed nominations
- Monday, 21 October at 5pm - Deadline for acceptance and election addresses
- Thursday, 7 November - Ballot opens
- Thursday, 12 December at noon - Ballot closes.