PCS conference round-up 2019

MoJ group conference
PCS MoJ group conference in May was well attended even though because of the imposed facilities policy, delegates had to use leave to attend to debate the issues that are so fundamentally important to PCS members' working lives and to set the policies for the group executive committee to take forward.

The fact that delegates are prepared to attend in their own time speaks volumes as to their dedication and determination to represent members’ best interests and their refusal to be weakened by the ideological, spiteful Tory attacks on PCS.

Group debates
Issues debated included pay and conditions, the abject failure of privatised services, our opposition to court closures, the fundamentally flawed digital mark-up procedure and the impact it is having on member’s health and safety, the discriminatory attendance management policy, the failure of HMCTS to meaningfully consult and the failure of the MoJ generally to fulfil its obligations to members under both equality and health and safety legislation.

Presentations and inspiring speakers
Conference was pleased to welcome shadow secretary of state for justice Richard Burgon MP. Richard stated PCS inspires other workers as a fighting union and how he was looking forward to continuing to work with us to force more U-turns from the Tories. Cheers and applause followed when he confirmed that Labour would scrap the anti-trade union laws, carry out a proper scrutiny of the impact on court closures and de-recognise G4S from the justice system.

Conference was also delighted to welcome our general secretary Mark Serwotka. Mark paid tribute to hard-working reps taking their own time to come to conference and recognised the difficult conditions and uncertainty within which our members work. He set out the threats that we may face from a huge lurch to the right and immediate attack that would come should a Boris Johnson government come to power. He urged reps and members to recognise the need to face up to what was coming stating we are the “most progressive union with best activists and staff. We can be proud of what we have done but we need to do more. We should be united in wanting our members to work in a more equal diverse civil service that we are proud to be in”. “Building the union is our best defence,” he concluded.

Annual delegate conference debates
Branches from the MoJ group were also well represented at the annual delegate conference with MoJ delegates moving and seconding motions and speaking eloquently and passionately in key debates that included pay, jobs, equality, the climate emergency, organising, and our social and economic, finance, international and personnel policies.

ADC guest speakers
Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn promised delegates that a Labour government would “end the culture of hostility to trade unions in the civil service” and if elected would within 100 days of taking office repeal the Tory’s “legally shackling” Trade Union Act. He said the government should be a “model employer”, not under-valuing and denigrating its employees. “This Labour leadership has always stood on the side of workers. We have been on the picket lines and that’s where you will always find us,” he said. He ended by saying that the success of the Labour party depended on the strength of the labour and trades union movement. “When Labour comes to power, you come to power too,” he finished.

SNP MP and chair of our union’s parliamentary group Chris Stephens attended and delivered the parliamentary report. He summarised the work that the parliamentary group had undertaken on behalf of all departments over the last year. He pledged that they would continue to use every parliamentary avenue to ensure that civil service pay is the top of the agenda and to fight “ideological outsourcing”.

Awards
Priya Kanu from PCS MoJ Mid-West branch won the new activist award in the organising and communications awards and was commended for the work she had done both in the MoJ MEP and national pay ballots and on behalf of the national young members committee.

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