Socialist View has been set up to allow for inclusive discussion and socialist debate in PCS. We are fully supportive of PCS Left Unity. We will invite articles for inclusion. We will put forward socialist policies democratically in Left Unity and we will be campaigning for an inclusive, diverse slate of candidates in PCS elections including Janice Godrich for the post of Assistant General Secretary.
Janice Godrich – Why I’m standing for election as the Left Unity candidate for PCS Assistant General Secretary
It has been a privilege to have been elected annually by members since 2002 as PCS President. I am standing for election as the Left Unity candidate for the post of PCS Assistant General Secretary and ask that you consider voting for me. It is the most important decision I have taken in over 35 years as a PCS activist. I am standing for election on the basis of my experience, my record of achievement and most importantly our policies set by our democratic conference for the future direction of our union. If elected I pledge to only take an average workers wage.
I have vast experience as an activist. I have been a PCS rep and activist since 1981. I began like most of you as a workplace rep in what was then the Employment Service, now DWP. I was soon elected as a regional rep and then served as Group President before being elected by PCS members as our national president a record 17 consecutive times. Nobody has been elected by all PCS members as often as me. I am clearly the most electable candidate and best placed to secure this post for Left Unity.
My record of achievement is second to none. I have negotiated at all levels of the union and on a wide range of issues. From my beginning as a local rep, through my leadership of the Employment Service to 17 years as President I have negotiated, campaigned and won for our members.
As a DWP worker, I know first-hand how the policies of this government have hit us all, whether we work in the civil service, our public bodies or the commercial sector areas of our union. I face the same problems as you as a civil servant and as a rep in the workplace trying to defend members in an increasingly hostile and politicised environment. I led PCS members in the Employment Service against attacks by an anti-union employer and helped build a fighting union in the face of cuts in facility time.
I have stood up to attempts by the employer to discipline me, and when my union time as President was cut by the Tories, successfully carried out my duties despite these attacks.
As President I have worked with Mark Serwotka, with a Left Unity led NEC and with you. Together we have –
- Steered the union through the threat of the terrible coup by the old right wing in 2002.
- Stabilised the union by supporting the Democracy Alliance to prevent a return by the right wing.
- Built PCS into a fighting socialist union respected throughout the TUC and Labour movement.
- Blocked the Tories plan to smash the union by delivering a fantastic direct debit campaign.
- Successfully protected the union’s finances in the face of massive Civil Service job cuts.
- Won a massive victory for the union in the High Court defending the CSCS.
- Recruited more new members than ever before in 2017
- Developed and promoted the Alternative to Austerity
As President I have –
- Never hidden in HQ and always got out meeting Groups, branches, activists and members to recruit members, develop and encourage reps and build our union
- Defended our union democracy and Left Unity democracy from bureaucracy and fought for an activist led union, including annual conferences and elections and democratic regional and nation committees
- Put equality at the heart of our union to build the participation of all underrepresented groups and members.
- Set up a senior lay reps forum to regularly consult Group Presidents and regional/nation chairs on our major campaigns and issues
- Negotiated on members behalf at Cabinet Office level and represented PCS on the TUC General Council
- Supported the development of Devolved Areas in Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland
- Chaired PCS conference, one of the biggest in the trade union movement, in a fair and equal way, ensuring we agree the biggest number of policy motions as possible
- Worked closely with activists and supported every request for strike action. .
- Spoke out and organised across the UK for united trade union action against austerity, promoting our Alternative, which raises hope and gives confidence that there is another way
I have always played a full part in the trade union and socialist movement, starting with the Anti Poll Tax campaign in the 80s right through to the Anti Austerity movements current today. I have campaigned for trade union rights and socialism in the UK and abroad and most recently spoke out against Trump’s visit to the UK at the major demonstration in Glasgow. I am a founder member of PCS Left Unity and was national chair for over 20 years.
Why I am standing now
As President I have always been a unifying force in the union, striving to be inclusive and find agreement on policy and strategy. When the old right wing tried to overturn Mark’s election as General Secretary I did not hesitate to put my house up as collateral to secure the legal action to stop them; proving beyond doubt that I will not waver to defend our union, members and democracy. I have never shied away from making difficult leadership decisions in the interest of the union and members when necessary. I have encouraged and mentored many members to become active in PCS, lots of whom have gone on to be successful workplace leaders
I am standing now as Left Unity candidate for Assistant General Secretary because members deserve a united leadership at the top of PCS. A leadership that more fully reflects the makeup of our membership and one that understands what it is like to be a workplace rep in recent times under all the attacks we have faced.
I will be issuing a fuller manifesto shortly but my key priorities as AGS will be to
- Bring my experience of over 30 years as a lay rep at all levels to the leadership. To ensure that PCS reflects the reality of life for members and activists in the workplace.
- Be a beacon and role model on equality to ensure PCS is an exemplar on this issue including developing the role of equality officer in branches, support for mentoring programmes and overcoming barriers, specific support for reps from under represented groups and the need for representation at leadership levels of the union.
- Make real gains for members at the negotiating table by increasing our bargaining strength through building workplace organisation and density.
- Ensure we continue to be a lay led union and increase membership democracy wherever
- Play the fullest role I can in the fight against austerity and improving the lives of working people and communities and for strong independent trade unions
- Give maximum solidarity to workers in dispute and link up and co-ordinate struggles wherever we can
- Oppose racism and fascism wherever it raises its head, including maximising trade union action
- Do all I can to support positive change for a fair and decent social security system and campaign against the attacks on those who rely on it. Seize the new opportunities to advance members interests offered by Corbyn/McDonnell as leaders of the Labour party, and campaign for fundamental change to social security system to be part of next manifesto
- Build and intensify our work on Tax Justice to expose the Tax dodging by multinational companies which is increasing inequality and poverty around the world, a closing of the tax gap, more staff in HMRC and making those most able pay their fair share of taxes.
- Build on the commitment given to PCS by the Corbyn/McDonnell Labour leadership to restore national pay bargaining, stop the pay cap, end privatisation in the public services, restore trade union facility time and collective bargaining and repeal the anti union laws by fully supporting our conference policy on campaigning for a Corbyn led Labour Government at the next Westminster General Election.
My pledge is that if elected as the Left Unity candidate for AGS I will provide strong leadership in the inclusive and unifying way that I have delivered in my 17 years as PCS President.
If you are a PCS member and a socialist join Left Unity – www.leftunity.org.uk
If you want to find out more or contact me