Socialist Appeal supports Lynn Henderson in the contest for assistant general secretary of PCS. Union members need a leadership that will defend Corbyn in the fight to kick out the Tories.
Alongside a national pay ballot, which we reported on previous, members of the civil service union PCS will later this year be electing a new national executive committee (NEC) as well as the position of assistant general secretary (AGS).
There are two main left candidates in the race for AGS: Chris Baugh, who currently holds the position; and Lynn Henderson, the Scottish secretary of the union.
Baugh managed to win the Left Unity (LU) re-run nomination by a mere 16 votes over “Socialist View” candidate Stella Dennis. But he has become a very divisive figure in relation to the policies he supports. He was originally beaten to the LU nomination by Janice Godrich, but Janice was unfortunately forced to withdraw through ill-health.
Chris Baugh is a member of the sectarian Socialist Party, whose policies have done great damage in the labour movement. Recently, his supporters were decisively beaten in the LU elections for the NEC nominations.
Their policies, which included a desegregated ballot over national pay, were soundly defeated and flew in the face of PCS, NEC and LU policy. If it had been adopted, this strategy would have left the national pay campaign in ruins.
Nevertheless, Chris Baugh’s public opposition to the pay policy has undermined some members’ confidence and was a key reason in the NEC’s decision to put back the start of the ballot timetable.
As a result, there are a large number in LU who feel they cannot support him and many prefer Lynn Henderson, who backs the union’s left policies. In addition, the PCS Democrats have decided that they cannot support Baugh.
The LU National Committee have therefore taken the decision that, in order to maintain the Democracy Alliance, Chris Baugh, while standing as the LU AGS candidate, cannot be added to the agreed Democracy Alliance (DA) slate for the 2019 elections.
Supporters of Chris Baugh have taken to condemning this decision, calling it an “attack on LU democracy” and criticising the LU national secretary. Some of Baugh’s supporters are now calling for anyone who does not support him to be named and expelled from Left Unity.
But this is wrong: how can you support a “Left Unity candidate” who does not support Left Unity policy?
Defend Corbyn – fight for socialism
Lynn Henderson, on the other hand, supports the Left Unity policy and comes from a Labour left tradition. She has won the support of Mark Serwotka, the PCS general secretary.
Henderson supports the fight for a Corbyn-led Labour government, which is union policy. She will support Mark Serwotka’s efforts to give union backing to a Corbyn victory, which is in the real interests of PCS members and is the best way forward.
In contrast, the Socialist Party, including their candidate, have pursued a sectarian line. This includes their position in relation to the Labour Party, against which they are preparing to stand their own candidates. They say the union risks “bend[ing] the knee to a Labour government”. It has also suggested that Mark Serwotka will “capitulate” to a Corbyn government.
By painting Corbyn as an enemy of PCS members, the Socialist Party is helping no-one but the Tories and the bosses.
It is for these reasons that we urge PCS members to nominate and vote for Lynn Henderson for the union’s AGS.