by John Moloney
Members in the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU) have voted to hold annual elections for the National Executive and annual conferences.
This means that there have to be NEC elections this year. The right wing-controlled NEC has refused to appoint election scrutineers as required by the constitution. The general secretary and the president have had to go to the High Court to seek permission to appoint the scrutineers themselves.
This right-wing NEC were the people who tried to sack the general secretary Mark Serwotka a year and half after he been elected, claiming that the ballot had been defective - even though they had not complained at the time of the vote. They are the people who currently have started four legal actions against the general secretary claiming that he is abusing his powers-all these actions to be funded by the union itself. The fight over the general secretary election alone cost the members £300,000.
If all goes well at the High Court we should see the call for nominations within the next few weeks. It is highly probable that there will be a joint slate between the left (as grouped together in Left Unity and Socialist Caucus) and the centre (PCS Democrats). There is a very good chance that the right wing can be voted out of power this year and that the PCS can start to punch its weight in the labour movement.
Unfortunately, members also voted (with no opposition whatsoever from Left Unity) to scrap grade reservations in the NEC elections. Thus there are now no guaranteed rights for lower grades to be on the NEC. It is probable therefore that although these grades make up nearly half the union, there will be only a handful on the NEC.