The motion below was passed at the Public and Commercial Services union Conference in Brighton last week.
The motion was moved by PCS Executive and should encourage Unite to respond and look at ways of working together at the grassroots level of the trade union movement such as Trades Councils or joint branch work in the community.
This would build up a relationship between reps of both unions that can only be beneficial in the defence of public sector pensions and further opposition to the Government's programme of austerity and economic dispossession of the working class.
Conference welcomes the agreement with Unite signed at ADC 2011. The agreement commits the two unions to work together to fight against the Government’s cuts in public spending by campaigning and, where possible, taking action in unity and support of each other.
Conference notes that the agreement with Unite has produced excellent results so far. Joint working has strengthened our ability to campaign to defend members’ pay, pensions and conditions.
Conference notes that, at the national level, Unite has been a strong ally in the current pensions campaign. Across the UK on June 30 and November 30 many joint events took place including Unite members, particularly in the MoD.
Conference believes that the alliance between PCS and Unite has created a positive challenge to other public sector unions when questions of unity in the campaign against government cuts have arisen.
Conference notes that a highly successful joint PCS/Unite fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference took place in September 2011, that Unite were joint sponsors of our pensions pamphlet, ‘Fair Pensions for All’, and that Unite is seeking to develop a new policy ‘think tank’ and has approached PCS to take part.
Conference notes that in Scotland, Wales and the English regions PCS and Unite have worked closely on campaigning against government cuts, anti-racism, pay, privatisation, and union learning.
Conference further notes that there has been close cooperation between Unite and PCS reps in the commercial sector on coordinated strike ballots, living wage campaigns, and recognition claims. A joint private sector campaign committee involving areas where the two unions overlap is being discussed.
Conference agrees that the further development of relations between the two unions should be explored. Conference believes that discussions and joint working with Unite should be conducted in a clear, transparent and democratic manner which fully takes in account the principles which have underpinned our success in building PCS as a democratic, campaigning union: democracy and membership participation, strong workplace organisation and a clear commitment to equality.
Conference believes that the value of closer cooperation with Unite should be judged by the extent to which it can assist our members in fighting to defend jobs, pensions, pay and public services against the Tory/Lib Dem government’s cuts programme.
Conference instructs the NEC to:
1. continue to implement the joint agreement with Unite;
2. discuss with Unite how to develop joint working in more areas where both unions have members;
3. explore with Unite how the relationship between our two unions can be developed further to the benefit of PCS members and the wider trade union movement;
4. report to Branches and to ADC 2013 on the operation of the joint agreement and on the outcome of these discussions.