Annual Delegates Conference 2015

DavidThe Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) takes place each May in Brighton. It is attended by around 800 branch delegates representing members across the Civil Service and within related private sector organisations. ADC is the key national platform in the union’s democratic process for making decisions – and one that provides our branch with the opportunity to share your voice as members with colleagues from across the national union.

Participation of branch

This is why the attendance of our branch delegates at ADC is vital. The three delegates this year were Peter Royle, Chris Hickey and David Jones – each of whom spoke on key issues of interest to our branch and its members.

Peter moved motion A36 on the need for members to be regularly updated on the merger talks with Unite which was unfortunately lost. He also seconded motion A438 on the new Government’s wish to abolish the Human Rights Act which was carried.

Peter

Chris intervened on motion A1 to set out why our branch was opposed to the NEC decision last December to suspend this year’s national motions. However the majority of delegates chose instead to accept the NEC’s claim that there was no other financial choice.

David successfully opposed motion A90 which sought to reduce the acceptable level of subscriptions arrears to two months pointing out the recent difficulties experienced by members in transferring to direct debit. He also moved motion A343 calling for the release of Shaker Aamer who has been detained without charge in Guantanamo Bay for 13 years. This was carried unanimously.

Key highlights

The opening ADC session was dominated by a general debate around the NEC decision to suspend national elections. Our branch has consistently taken the view that the NEC should have better anticipated the recent loss in membership income; failed to look first at other possible cost saving alternatives; and acted outside of its constitutional remit. A number of other branches joined Chris in calling for these elections to be reinstated in the interests of preserving union democracy. In response the NEC essentially asked delegates to trust their judgement on this occasion and this line of argument ultimately prevailed. However it is worth noting that a significant minority of branches were prepared to vote against the NEC position.

The second day included an interesting debate around the deeply regrettable refusal of the NEC to offer support to John Pearson, a victimised union rep whose Employment Tribunal case for unfair dismissal was upheld. Delegates then heard from the Chair of the PCS Parliamentary Group John McDonnell MP who emphasised the importance of opposing the Government’s austerity plans. Conference later gave a standing ovation to the National Gallery strikers campaigning against privatisation. In the afternoon, delegates discussed how the union should respond to the rise of UKIP and the importance of achieving equality in pension entitlements for cohabiting members. Former Assistant General Secretary Hugh Lanning was one of those who received a Distinguished Life Membership.

On the last morning, delegates discussed various international issues including the election of Syriza in Greece, the conflict in Ukraine and the Syrian refugee crisis. There were also a number of environmental motions focusing on the climate change.

A list of all DCLG branch mandated motions, the DCLG delegates’ voting record and the national record of the outcome on motions can be found here

Reflection

The recent election of a Conservative government presents many difficult challenges for PCS including the high likelihood of further devastating cuts to public services accompanied by additional restrictions upon the ability of trade unions to collectively organise. However despite the hostile political environment in which our union is seeking to operate, delegates were in good spirits and it was clear that the determination and enthusiasm to create a better future for our country had not diminished.

If you wish to read more about the 2015 conference, this can be found on the PCS website . Please also free to speak to one of the delegates if you have any questions or concerns.