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Branch Motion on TUC Youth Conference 03/04/2012

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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At last week’s BEC, the branch passed the below motion unanimously. What follows is background information and the motion passed. The branch is currently communicating with PCS at a national level to resolve this situation.

Background

At our 2011 Branch AGM, members nominated Rosie Huzzard (then outgoing Branch Young Members Officer) to attend the 2012 TUC Young Members Conference on behalf of PCS, and subsequently elected at PCS ADC 2011 by delegates.

Prior to the conference, Rosie attended a mandating meeting to discuss the motions with other delegates.

On Friday 23rd March, the delegates, including Rosie, met to discuss last minute arrangements and the issues of the NEC’s decision over the pensions dispute/March 28th came up. There was a difference of opinion between the delegates but it was made clear that any speeches made would have to be in line with the NEC’s decision. Rosie agreed to this. Delegates also agreed that they would be able to discuss their minority views with other delegates (from other unions) at the event.

On Saturday 24th March (the first day of the conference), Rosie produced and handed out a leaflet marked clearly as a ‘Workers Liberty’ leaflet (the political group Rosie is a member of), to delegates in the foyer of the event (in the TUC Headquarters). She was promptly asked to stop by Jane Warburton (another PCS YM delegate), informing her it was against TUC rules (specifically, the rule that you cannot hand out ‘unauthorised literature’ in the conference venue). Rosie explained she had been unaware of this rule, and complied immediately. Within the next ten minutes, Gayle Matthews (PCS National Young Members Organiser) asked Rosie to come and speak to her, and took her into a private room with Jane and another delegate, Steven Heyward and explained that:

§         In breaking the TUC rules, Rosie had attracted the attention of Carl Roper, TUC full time officer.

§         In identifying herself as a ‘PCS Delegate’ on the leaflet and clearly denouncing the union, Rosie had brought PCS into disrepute with the other unions.

§         They had contacted the “members of the National Young Members Committee they had managed to get hold of” and discussed this.

§         As a result, they would have to ask her to leave the event immediately, that she could not be a PCS delegate for the rest of the conference.

§         That if she did not leave on their say so, it was likely that she would be removed in the middle of the next section of the meeting by TUC staff, and that leaving immediately would cause “less embarrassment for all concerned”.

§         They also informed Rosie that this would be referred to Janice Godrich, with the implication of some form of disciplinary action within PCS, but no policy or rules were referenced at this point.

Rosie asked if there was any way she could appeal against this decision, and was told no, that the decision had already been made.

Rosie took her things and left. Her voting position in the meantime had been taken over by an observer (who had not been elected to attend).

Since then, Rosie has received overwhelming support from other delegates at the conference, and PCS members who have been made aware.

The delegation has also clarified their position, now stating that the TUC and Carl Roper had no hand in this decision, and that the decision was made entirely by the NYMC.

Mark Serwotka has contacted Tom Bishell regarding the matter and has taken interest in resolving the situation. He said any consideration would go to him, and not Janice. He also said he disagreed with the TUC rule regarding handing out ‘unauthorised literature’.

 

Motion 2 (Regarding TUC Young Members Conference)

 This branch believes that freedom of speech is a fundamental tenet of a free and democratic trade union movement.

A democratic trade union, and one that values democracy, should have defended Rosie’s right to leaflet to the TUC, and not made such a decision, and certainly defended her against certain expulsion from the conference for such a minor offence – rather than making the decision to ask her to leave.

It further believes that the decision of the PCS delegation/NYMC was both unclear at the time of its delivery, and disproportionate considering the circumstances. Rosie was not given a warning before the decision was made, or a right to appeal.

It condemns the decision and demands a full explanation from the PCS delegation and National Young Members Committee for their actions.

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