November 1, 2023
From Socialist World

Marion Lloyd supporting workers Photo: Rob WIlliams

Nominations have closed in the elections for Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) general secretary and AGS elections. In a stunning outcome, Socialist Party member Marion Lloyd, standing for general secretary with the support of the PCS Broad Left Network, has received a tremendous 80 branch nominations.

That is an indication of how badly let down activists and members of the union feel by the current leadership, and the appeal of a fighting programme.

Marion is running on a joint ticket with John Moloney of the Independent Left. John is the current assistant general secretary but is not part of the leading group in the union, Left Unity. He has received 87 nominations.

Marion and John’s opponents are from Left Unity. Fran Heathcote, the current president, is standing for general secretary and Paul O’Connor for AGS. Heathcote is the candidate supported by retiring general secretary Mark Serwotka; she received 90 nominations and O’Connor 84.

There is now the very real chance that PCS members can elect a fighting, democratic socialist as general secretary.

If Marion were to be elected, it would be a big gain for PCS members. Marion opposed the premature and dishonest closing down of the national campaign on pay and pensions by the current national leaders (see ‘Socialist candidates are on the ballot paper in PCS elections!’). If Marion were general secretary, there would be a serious and escalating plan of action put forward, utilising all the options for action available, with democratic and inclusive discussion throughout the union to seriously rebuild the campaign and momentum squandered by the current leaders.

Broad Left Network

But Marion would need members to get active and involved to ensure a fighting programme was implemented at all levels of the union. Marion is supported by the Broad Left Network, which brings together socialists and activists from across different groups, regions and nations, who are committed to building the strength of the union.

Marion is prepared to work with anyone who shares those aims. It is important that a strong left is built. The union will hold National Executive elections in the new year so, whatever the outcome of the general secretary election, it is important that members who want a fighting union get organised.

If Marion were to be elected it would send shockwaves throughout the trade union movement and the Labour Party. A bold fighting lead could give confidence to workers everywhere – look at the impact Mick Lynch had in the summer of last year! Marion would be able to appeal to other trade union leaders for serious coordination of action against the anti-trade union laws, for pay and against cuts.

And a general election is looming. A trade union leadership that will put demands in the interests of members on whoever forms the government, and that is prepared to lead a fight no matter who is in power, would pile pressure on a Starmer-led government. A leadership that was willing to back candidates who actually support the policies of the union would also put big pressure on Starmer’s Labour, and could help the process towards workers building their own political representation.