Broad lefts and rank-and-file groups

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...

Demands for DVLA (John Moloney's column)

PCS held an emergency meeting with senior managers from the Department for Transport on Friday 29 January, to discuss the situation at the DVLA [Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency] complex in Swansea. Thousands of workers are still being compelled to come into the workplace even though the safety measures are totally inadequate. We’ve demanded a massive reduction in the number of staff working in the offices; we want that brought down to the bare minimum. The union will meet the department again on 2 February and we’ll put their response to a virtual members’ meeting the following day. If...

Unison left: a chance for unity?

The right-wing continuity candidate Christina McAnea won the General Secretary election for the public service workers’ union Unison (result announced 11 January). But there were reasons to be encouraged by the result. Rank-and-file left candidate Paul Holmes delivered a strong vote. McAnea won the election with 63,900 votes, Paul Holmes came in second place with 45,220 votes. Candidates backed by different sections of the left won more than 50% of votes cast. Assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie, backed by Jeremy Corbyn and much of the “official” Labour left, got 14,450 votes, and the...

Right-winger Coyne declares for Unite election

This year, 2021, will see an election for the replacement of Len McCluskey as General Secretary of the big cross-sector union Unite. And now union right-winger Gerard Coyne, the runner-up in the last general secretary election, in 2017, has declared his wish to stand. We don't yet know the detailed schedule. Sadly, jockeying for position, armtwisting, backroom deals, backstabbing, slanders and the outright lies are already in full flow. McCluskey’s favoured successor is Howard Beckett. In his capacity as head of the union’s Legal Department he has squandered vast amounts of members’ money on...

Towards telecoms strike in BT?

In December, BT Group workers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted by a 97.9% majority for industrial action to defend job security and conditions, in a consultative ballot. A BT Group worker and CWU activist explains the background to the dispute and other struggles in BT. The national consultative ballot against job cuts and compulsory redundancies across BT is the logical result of the failure of industrial leadership by the CWU Telecoms Executive for over a decade, and also of the disastrous outcome of the 2019 general election for communication workers. The current faction in...

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