PCS leadership censured for evasions on trans rights

Submitted by AWL on 24 May, 2019 - 11:25 Author: A conference delegate
Demonstrating for trans rights in Brighton

Motion A21 at the 2019 conference of civil service union PCS dealt with the leadership's approach to trans rights. (See the motions document, p12.)

In 2017 and 2018 conference voted to support amendment of the Gender Recognition to facilitate self-identification; despite opposition from the NEC in 2017 these motions passed overwhelmingly.

This year A21 condemned and proposed censure of the NEC for its response and for General Secretary Mark Serwotka’s unilateral signatory of a letter published in the Morning Star, alongside numerous vehemently trans-exclusionary individuals, suggesting that the problem was that debate around these issues was being prevented. The motion argued that this had damaged PCS's reputation among its members and in the wider trade union movement, in violation of a democratically decided policy.

The leadership once again attempted opposition, using familiar coded phrases such as "legitimate concerns" among women’s groups. It was joined in this by more outright trans-exclusionary delegates who counterposed women to trans women. Once again our trans activists were in a position where they were forced to defend themselves and the democratically decided policy of the union by getting up to support the motion and address these points.

Luckily, as in previous years they were joined by allies from across the union, including Workers’ Liberty and other PCS Independent Left supporters, dissident PCS Left Unity supporters and others. Despite leadership opposition the motion was passed overwhelmingly and the leadership rightfully censured. Hopefully we won’t have to see a repeat of this next year.

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