The last couple of months have been a bruising one for the PCS Union in respect of ballots and elections.
Across the union there was huge amounts of work to get members to vote in the industrial action ballot against the government’s pay policy, that is content that is content to force its own staff into the arms of the benefits regime because of their own pay. Across the country this includes civil servants being paid less than the living wage. Unfortunately, despite receiving its biggest ever industrial action mandate with over 124,000 votes case and a 78% support for industrial action. However, the votes cast only equaled 47.7% of the members included in the ballot and so marginally missed out on the 50% threshold imposed by 2016 Trade Union Act. It is a galling decision given that no other comparable election is required to meet such a threshold. As the IER notes the ballot came “in the week that local council elections produced an estimated turnout in the 30-40% range, falling well below the standard expected for unions, yet affecting the everyday lives of millions of residents.” It is all the more galling, and indicative of the government’s real agenda that it is happy to apply this more stringent test whilst simultaneously continuing to drag its heels on the review of the need for postal ballot votes which becomes more and more of an anachronism with every passing day.
And, in internal union elections, the result of the union’s Assistant General Secretary and NEC elections have been announced with John Moloney of the Independent Left (IL) faction securing the post. In the NEC elections there were also three IL posts although the majority of the NEC still held by Left Unity. These were far more bruising elections than has been the case in recent years as the Left Unity vote was split between Chris Baugh the official LU candidate and Lynn Henderson supported by Mark Serwotka.