We are PCS activists in the DWP Group who hold a variety of Union positions. We are signing this statement in a personal capacity.
The DWP is the largest group within PCS and within Left Unity the DWP also has the largest membership base.
We know first hand how much Janice Godrich has led this union through it’s darkest times. It was Janice who, alongside Mark Serwotka, put her home up as collateral to defend our union’s democracy in the High Court and it has been Janice at the helm of our union throughout all the attacks from this government.
Janice has always led by unifying our activists and by standing firm in the face of hostility. People with polarised starting positions have been convinced to find common ground for the greater good and no government, or employer, has been left in any doubt as to the strength of PCS under Janice’s stewardship.
It is this strength and the need to be bold in our strategy, that is critical for the union moving forward.
Janice, and those who support her, are clear about the strategic direction our union needs to go. We must continue to build our organisational capability within every workplace if we are to succeed in the fights ahead. This is especially the case in the ongoing national pay campaign.
It is clear to us, as well as Janice and Mark, that to beat the threshold in any new statutory ballot in the spring we need to overcome the organisational issues we identified last time out.
We do not need to review or re-direct our strategy, as is being suggested by Chris Baugh and his supporters, rather we need to build our strength at workplace level and get to even more members face to face.
The single focus on breaking the ongoing pay restraint our members suffer is also of critical importance. To add a list of demands to that core aim would serve only to split group againstgroup, with competing priorities replacing a unified demand, and ultimately undermine our position.
The increasingly cautious, indeed conservative, approach displayed by the current AGS and a number of his supporters, as shown by their strategy on pay, would ultimately weaken the union in the battles we face.
No one disputes that Chris Baugh has been a leading figure within our union and on the left of PCS. We have no desire to dismiss his record and diminish the work he has done over nearly four decades.
We are though convinced that his consistent undermining of our General Secretary, and the union’s leadership on the major policies of our union, cannot continue and, alongside his industrially conservative approach, has been instrumental in the breakdown in relationship at the top of PCS.
Left Unity members are urged not to fall for the methods being deployed by Janice’s opponents in the LU election. It is, of course, healthy in any democracy to have different views and positions, and no one would suggest disagreement isn’t a key strand of any democracy. There is, however, a fundamental difference between disagreeing with someone and undermining them, and Chris has been guilty of the latter in our view in relation to the GS.
We reject the arguments, that someone should only be “removed from a role” if they have “behaved badly” and that this campaign to support Janice is tantamount to losing Chris his job.
Our opponents should be reminded that this is not a job. It is a democratically elected union position, that is granted and removed at the behest of union members, not by contractual position or entitlement.
We will be voting for Janice Godrich to be the Left Unity candidate in the 2019 AGS election,and Fran Heathcote, as LU candidate for National President.
We urge other Left Unity members to do the same.
Fran Heathcote – PCS Deputy President and DWP Group President
Martin Cavanagh – DWP Group Vice President and NEC member
Annette Rochester – DWP Group Vice President and NEC member
Angela Grant – DWP Group Assistant Secretary and NEC member
Sam Hall – DWP Group Assistant Secretary and NEC member
Ian Pope – DWP Group Assistant Secretary and NEC member
Steve Swainston – DWP Group Assistant Secretary
Rachael Watts – DWP Group Assistant Secretary
Bash Chilwan – DWP Group Treasurer
Carrie Anne Watkins – DWP Group Equality Officer
Carol Revell – DWP Group Health and Safety Officer
Louise Evans – DWP GEC
Baljit Johal – DWP GEC
Kevin McCafferty – DWP GEC
Grant McClure – DWP GEC
John McInally – DWP GEC
Brian Nairn – DWP GEC
Dave Owens – DWP GEC & DWP North West Regional Chair
Steve West – DWP GEC
John Livingstone – DWP Scotland Chair
Jimmy Gill – DWP Wales Chair
Glen Hatwood – DWP North East Regional Chair
Bridget Corcoran – DWP North East Equality Officer
Richard Capps – DWP South West Regional Chair
Steve Franks – DWP West Midlands Regional Secretary
John Freeman – DWP East Midlands Regional Chair
Stevie Dunn – DWP Central London Branch Secretary