Group Elections 2012 – A Statement From Kerry Fairless

Over the next few days boxes of ballot papers will be landing on PCS Branch Secretary’s desks, including our own Anna Owens’, for the 2012 Revenue and Customs Group Executive Committee (GEC) elections.

Back in February at our Annual General meeting branch members voted to nominate the Left Unity ‘slate’ of candidates, including Kerry Fairless, who is nominated for Group President. As Group Liaison Officer to the branch Kerry has been very supportive of us, having attended Branch Executive Committee meetings, spoken at members meetings and been on call to help with issues as they’ve arisen.

This is a statement Kerry originally published on his own site a few weeks ago, partly in response to comments made by our current Group President in ORACLE. With the imminence of the elections we are republishing here.

WHAT A PRESIDENT SHOULD DO

When I was selected as the Left Unity Presidential candidate I thought very hard about what a President should be and what sort of President the Group needs in what are difficult times.Firstly, and probably most importantly, I think the members need to know who their President is. Sitting behind a desk in Clapham and hiding behind an email address has never been my style. How are we are supposed to represent members if we do not talk to them? How are we supposed to gain their support if we do not explain what is going on to them? So, if elected as President I intend to be visible and accountable, I intend to engage properly with Branches and members. I do have a Departmental job, I do understand from first hand experience the problems we all face in our day to day working lives.A lot has been said about the words “sexy political”. It is important that we always understand that we represent members in Revenue & Customs Group first and foremost, but that must include involving ourselves fully in the national unions campaigns. For me the words “sexy political” refer to pay, privatisation, pensions, job losses and office closures. These are political decisions being taken by the Government. Having spoken at several AGMs this year, it is clear to me that our members expect us to be doing the “sexy political” stuff. They expect their union to be fighting as hard as it can to protect us from privatisation, protect our pensions and secure us a proper pay raise. That said, we must never forget the bread and butter issues. I have spoken to many reps across the country, and I know how hard they work in personal cases, advice to members, local negotiations, health and safety and the learning agenda to name but a few. To suggest our reps do not do this simply undermines them in a time when we really need everyone working together for the same ends.

I know that our union is built on the membership. Without the membership we do not have a union. I know our members are aware of the issues that effect them on a day to day basis, and I know they have the right to change union policy through motions to conference. Whilst I may not agree with every motion that goes to Conference and at times I may think a Conference is unhelpful, members have the right to submit what they like to AGMs and to Conference. That is called to democracy, and democracy is the cornerstone of our union. To suggest motions are “ludicrous” frankly insults those members who do pen motions and those members who agree them at AGMs.

Finally, I think the President needs an understanding of campaigning. I’ve not seen that this year from the current incumbent. I’ve been involved in campaigns for many years – not always wearing my PCS hat. I understand tactics and strategies; there is no point in taking up a campaign if you don’t have a plan. We have to campaign on a raft of issues, be that protecting our office from closure, be that protecting us from losing our jobs or be that protecting us from the horrors of privatisation. I know that if we sit back and do nothing, then bad things will happen.

So essentially, if elected, I aim to be a President you can trust. A President that will try to do what is right by the membership. A President that wont accept second best in negotiations and a President that will stand shoulder with the membership during disputes and campaigns.

I know the amount of work Left Unity GEC members do during the course of the year, sometimes in their own time and at own expense. I know that it is Left Unity GEC members who provide the ideas and drive to make things better.

I’ve never hidden my Left Unity membership and am proud to be able to consider myself a socialist. I do not subscribe to the view that others stand outside of other factions or groupings, I just know that we are open and honest enough to tell you we do. Any candidate who puts a list of names at the bottom of their election address are standing as part of a grouping. To say otherwise is hiding the facts.

Further Reading and Action

You can read the whole Left Unity GEC slate on the Left Unity website here: PCS Left Unity Groups – HMRC
Make sure you vote in the ballot. PCS your union: it’s down to you to decide who runs it.

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