Proud Annual General Meeting - statement by Kris Hendry, Chair
On behalf of the Proud national committee may I first pass on our best wishes, we hope everyone is safe and well as the pandemic continues to affect us all.
As you will know, the pandemic has disrupted PCS’s normal activities, in particular the ability to carry out meetings, such as ADC, and undertake annual group and national elections earlier this year.
As part of these annual arrangements we would ordinarily expect to hold our annual general meeting following PCS’s LGBT+ members' seminar in October.
Our national committee met on 12 September where we discussed the current COVID-19 position and its impact on our ability to proceed with AGM 2020 and the annual elections.
Having considered the potential risks and barriers to meeting, either physically or online, the committee agreed that proceeding at this stage would not best serve the interests of Proud and our members, in light of increasing positive cases being reported and the logistical barriers through current working arrangements of both members and full time PCS officers.
This decision has not been taken lightly and the committee understands members will be disappointed, however we believe our AGM should be open and accessible but the risks posed by any physical meeting and/or the barriers of an online meeting would counter that intention at this stage.
In lieu of AGM the current national committee will continue to carry on the work of Proud. The committee will consider co-option for any current vacancy until such time as we are able to host our AGM if you would be interested in joining the committee.
We hope members understand the difficult situation facing the committee and our reasoning, and thank you all for your patience.
Statement from PCS National Black Members' Committee on George Floyd, Racism and Black Lives Matter
The brutal murder of George Floyd in the United States was shocking but not surprising. For decades now black communities have been discriminated against, harassed and murdered and the system which has allowed that to happen has not changed. The family now need all those responsible to be brought to justice and the PCS Union sends our love and solidarity to them and black people in the United States, in the UK and around the world experiencing racism.
News of his arrest and murder has been shared around the world and here in the UK many Black PCS members will be traumatised, anxious, they or their loved ones may have experienced police racism and racial profiling. PCS Black members have a strong track record in campaigning against institutional racism and supporting family justice campaigns against deaths at the hands of the State and racist murders.
We condemn the institutional racism that has led to black communities in the USA, the UK and globally, being fearful for their lives and support our sister trade unions in their campaigns for justice. Trade Unions have always been at the forefront of the struggle against racism and it is imperative that we stand with all workers and communities.
Whilst we watch the scenes in the United States we cannot forget here in the UK there have been far too many deaths at the hands of authorities and we must continue to address these injustices. The names of some of these victims include Stephen Lawrence, Jay Abatan, Belly Mujinga, Anthony Walker, Mark Duggan, Dalian Atkinson, Rasharn Charles, Sheku Bayoh, Sarah Reid and many more.
We are frustrated and angry that despite the work done by families, campaigners and trade unions and promises of changes, we are no closer to eradicating institutional and other racism.
In 2020 it is not sufficient for opposition to such crimes to be stated; it requires politicians and policy makers to make changes to the institutional barriers faced by black and minority ethnic communities around the world.
In recent weeks here in the UK, the impact of COVID-19 on Black and minority Ethnic communities have been laid bare in the ONS report and then the Public Health England commissioned report, many PCS members will be worried about the impact on themselves and their families. PCS Union is ensuring your voice is heard in the corridors of power and we are calling on all employers to place safeguards for all our members which include risk assessments and equality impact assessments which also look at personal impacts and the high risks for BAME workers including those who are outsourced workers.
PCS Union has been at the forefront of fighting racism since our Union came into existence and will always stand up against racism. We work across the Trade Union movement and with grassroots community groups such as BARAC UK, SUTR and SRTRC to campaign for justice for victims of racism, for race equality and to challenge all forms of racism from every day micro aggression to systemic racism, and will always stand on the frontline.
To the families and loved ones of all those that have lost their lives, we stand with you, your fight is our fight and together we will prevail.
If you have an issue which you wish to discuss, need support or advice please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
PCS also has a 24hr racial incident helpline - 020 7801 2678
Mohammed Shafiq, Chair of the National Black Members Committee
Tracey Hylton, Vice Chair of the National Black Members Committee
Zita Holbourne, National Vice President, PCS Union
Angela Grant, Hector Wesley, Annette Rochester - National Executive Committee
Equality is at the heart of everything we do
In the way we organise ourselves and campaign we always strive to ensure we are representing all of our members.
We work with members to promote equality and tackle discrimination in the workplace, society and the wider world.
PCS is committed to ensuring those members in groups currently under-represented in our union’s structures are encouraged and supported to play a full and active role.
We run five national forums for women, black, disabled, young and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, which meet regularly to share information and ideas, and advise the national executive on policy.
We support international days that celebrate equality and diversity.
NEC statement on reform of the Gender Recognition Act
The National Executive Committee of PCS would like to record and reaffirm our solidarity with our Trans members, and the wider Trans community as part of this year’s International Trans Day of Visibility.
We are a trade union with a strong record of campaigning for equality and against discrimination and injustice affecting our members. We are a union that seeks to understand that our oppression is rooted in an unequal society and we must unite to support each other in the fight against prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry.
We fully support trans people and non binary people, campaigning for their rights. Discriminatory behavior, threats of violence, prejudice, and verbal abuse are all totally unacceptable.
We continue to support the need to reform the Gender Recognition Act, in line with the decisions taken by our Annual Delegate Conference since 2017. Currently the Act imposes oppressive medical and bureaucratic processes on trans people that detrimentally affect their rights and dignity. We will continue to put forward our agreed conference policy, and to campaign for its implementation.
The NEC agreed at its meeting on 3-5 March to write to the Government in response to recent press reports that the Government were considering withdrawal from any potential reform of the Gender Recognition Act.
However in light of the ongoing pandemic and our need to respond on behalf of PCS members, this agreed course of action will follow as soon as appropriate to do so.
The NEC will continue to work with PCS Proud, the PCS National Women’s Forum and other allies for reform of the GRA.
PCS will continue to strive to create a united campaign for trans rights, recognising that unity in our movement is the best way to fight for both trans people and to address any concerns held by women, and to achieve equality for all.
Sexual harassment training
PCS has designed a one-day workshop on sexual harassment in the workplace. The course will raise awareness among all union reps, and give them the confidence and tools to challenge management where change is not forthcoming.
Most of the courses will be held in the union’s regional offices, but we can also explore possibilities of running the course for branches in large workplaces or external venues where appropriate.
For more details on forthcoming dates of PCS sexual harassment courses check our events page.
To order “Sexual harassment is a trade union issue” materials (workplace noticeboard posters and leaflets) contact your PCS regional office.