PCS civil service union Assistant General Secretary (AGS) Chris Baugh, elected three times since 2004, has won at least eight nomination meetings in his campaign to be the Left Unity AGS candidate for a fourth term.
Left Unity regional group meetings have now met and agreed their nominations. Voting will take place during November. Socialist Party member Chris Baugh is opposed, in a divisive move, by Janice Godrich, current PCS president, with support from PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka.
The move to replace Chris has led to a potentially damaging campaign within Left Unity. Chris, along with other Socialist Party members, is being opposed by the newly formed Socialist View including the Socialist Workers’ Party.
It is clear they want to remove the voice of the Socialist Party in PCS. Their slates are divisive and do not follow in the best traditions of the left, which reflect all strands of opinion in Left Unity.
For the Left Unity national committee their slate challenges positions held by Socialist Party members Marion Lloyd (current Left Unity chair) and Dave Semple (current editor). This slate also removes two women activists from small government departments.
Their national executive committee (NEC) slate, if successful, will remove Socialist Party members Marion Lloyd, Katrine Williams and Dave Semple. In contrast, the Chris4AGS campaign has put forward a limited slate, leaving places for those currently on the Left Unity national committee and the NEC, including Socialist View supporters.
The election campaign has brought to the surface political differences. The Chris4AGS campaign, which is supported by the Socialist Party and many independent socialists across the union, has united around a programme which sets out a fighting strategy to take the union forward.
On pay, we support a full democratic discussion to determine the next steps and to agree future industrial strategy – one which maximises the potential of reaching and exceeding the Tory-imposed ballot threshold.
This discussion should include, for example, linking pay with jobs and conditions, an aggregate ballot, and an organising strategy to build the union. This contrasts with the ‘more of the same’ approach by Socialist View supporters.
Rather than unconditional support for Labour, the Chris4AGS campaign stands for the continued political independence of PCS while working with Labour to ensure it implements the promises it has given the union. The Chris4AGS campaign stands for lay power and increased democracy, including extending the election of full-time officers.
We stand for an open, democratic and inclusive Left Unity – a rank-and-file organisation which fights for and supports a left leadership, but retains sufficient independence to hold the leadership accountable.
We are seeking support in the Left Unity ballot – which closes on 23 November – for the candidates listed below right.
Our slates leave places to be filled by other incumbent Left Unity national committee and PCS NEC members. We stand for unity within the left around a programme to fight to defend PCS members, resist Tory attacks and oppose austerity.
National Gallery reps endorse Chris Baugh
We are PCS union reps at the National Gallery. We include our branch executive positions but are writing in a personal capacity.
Chris Baugh has been an outstanding source of support to the branch for many years.
Chris was at the forefront of opposition to the privatisation of visitor services in 2015 and after a lengthy industrial dispute led negotiations that secured a robust back-to-work agreement protecting existing terms and conditions for members.
Naturally those conditions are constantly under renewed attack by the employer and again Chris has been a valuable source of advice, expertise, support and encouragement throughout. Members greatly value Chris’s active involvement in our branch campaigns and the support he has consistently offered.
We are not getting involved in internal politics. All we know is that experience has taught us that when the going gets tough, this branch can rely on Chris.
We have no hesitation in recommending support for Chris Baugh’s re-election as PCS assistant general secretary and urge all Left Unity members to support him.
Graham Eve (branch secretary), Colin Eeles (branch chair), Lynn Boothman (health and safety officer), Ian Hall (equalities officer), Patrick Sofela (rep)