I have been involved in the Trade Union and Labour movement since the 1980s. In that time, I have, as a Socialist campaigned for a fairer society and a safer workplace, where people are treated with respect.
There have been some real highs and lows in that period. Getting elected as a Labour Councillor on an anti cuts ticket and beating the current mayor was one such high. This was followed some years later, by my disillusionment and departure from the Labour party after Keir Starmer became leader.
I was for many years President of Ipswich Trades Council and involved in anti cuts campaigns and in opposing racism. I have positive memories of leading a march against the EDL and working with other unions in Ipswich in organising joint rallies and marches to campaign for better pay and pensions.
I have always been an active rep in the workplace and have a good record in dealing with personal cases, health and safety and negotiations on issues such as flexi and shift rosters. It probably says a lot about the changing workplace and work intensification, that the happiest people, who I meet, are those I have helped get ill health retirement.
I was a director of the credit union for a number of years and thought that was a good initiative by PCS. I was disappointed it wasn’t a greater success. I did however see the real difference it made, particularly to low paid workers and single parents. Without the credit union they would have been forced to take short term loans from shady companies charging an exorbitant rate of interest.
I was the first elected treasurer of the PCS HMRC group and have been involved in the group as a GEC member and DMAC member. I have always tried to make each decision from the perspective of what would the members think? I believe I have generally got this right, but it doesn’t get any easier. The recent deliberations on the latest pay and contract reform in HMRC have been as difficult a decision as I have ever had to make. I do however weigh up the facts and give a view rather than remain silent. I think leadership is making those difficult decisions and being held to account for them.
Over the years I have made many good friends in the PCS and I am proud of our union. My approach is to try and persuade people, not to attack them. I am always disappointed when individuals or political groupings go down this route. It doesn’t build the unity and good working relationship we need to build confidence and take action.
We have a much higher profile than other unions that are much larger and I attribute this in large part to the Left Unity leadership that has on the whole generally got it right on the big issues.
I am proud to be an NEC member. Again it’s not always easy but I regard it as a privilege to be elected to this position. I am seeking re-election to the NEC based on my record and deep rooted commitment to this union.
Full Democracy Alliance nomination list