The PCS Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) in Brighton was by all accounts, a memorable experience for this year’s group of representatives from Welsh Government.
The conference, held in May, represents our 180,000 members and delegates from each PCS group were in attendance to discuss policies, changes and new actions for PCS. Group organiser Jill Brinkworth stated that the atmosphere was infectious: “On my first afternoon, I wasn’t prepared for the deluge of leaflets and flyers that were thrust upon me inviting me to various fringe events and debates. There was a lot of activity and enthusiasm everywhere.
Prior to ADC, a booklet of motions is sent to branches to agree on how to vote: support, oppose, listening remit and no mandate. This enables branch delegates to be both armed and informed with a mandate. Motions are heard with a traffic light system and there is a visible light bulb which changes colour when the motion is delivered. Red means you stop talking. The delegate moving the motion has just five minutes to state their case. This year, an emergency motion regarding the national pay campaign was prioritised and delivered by general secretary Mark Serwotka. Meanwhile, some motions that didn’t get heard were inserted into the “guillotined” section and debated at the end of the last conference section, including excellent motions on period poverty and supporting the associate and retired members network.
The days were long; concentrating, listening and voting on motions. But I found it to be addictive, exciting and engaging. It was an invaluable experience and I feel informed as a result. ADC is an organised, well-oiled machine with representatives passionately stating their case to try and shape the year ahead for PCS members and good causes.”
Rachel Shayle and Jaydene Davies from the Cardiff Branch BEC also attended the conference as trainee delegates.
“Attending the PCS ADC in Brighton was a fantastic opportunity and an experience I won’t forget in a hurry. It was so interesting to see how issues are raised and voted on; and because I attended as a trainee delegate, I was able to benefit from the additional insight and learning opportunities outside of the main conference hall. This was useful, as I think attending for the first time without this additional guidance could have been confusing and overwhelming. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful few days,” said Rachel.
Jaydene agreed: “Even though it is only my first year on the BEC, I attended as an observer and learned how the conference works. Trainee delegates learn about the motions, what it means when the infamous bell rings and also some tips on public speaking. Attending the conference made me realise how much PCS is striving to come together and stand up for its’ members. The ADC reminded me of the African proverb: ‘If you want to go fast; go alone. If you want to go far; go together’.”