Martin Cavanagh

For PCS Vice President

I am again asking for your support for re-election as a Vice-President of PCS. I have been honoured to serve as Deputy President of the union since 2019 and am also the currently elected DWP Group President, NW Regional Chair and Branch Vice-Chair. I have previously held a variety of other union positions in the 30 plus years I have been an activist in PCS and its predecessor union, CPSA.

In a lay led union, it is important that elected representatives play a prominent role in bargaining on behalf of our members, to deliver democratic accountability. As chair of the bargaining committee I have prioritised increasing lay representation at bargaining meetings with the Cabinet Office and have helped ensure the union’s equality agenda continues to feed directly in to our bargaining priorities.

I am a socialist and member of PCS Left Unity, standing on the Democracy Alliance slate which is committed to building on the work we have already done for members.

Alongside my Democracy Alliance comrades I understand the importance strategy plays in our campaigns and the need to prioritise organising through campaigning to build our membership. The more we grow the stronger and more vibrant our union becomes, increasing our chances of winning for members.

The current national campaign, based on a strategy devised by and supported by members of Left Unity, is a testimony to this. A departure from the more traditional one or two-day national action, the Left Unity dominated leadership of our union, has pushed for and implemented a strategy that can maximise the pressure on government while minimising the financial cost to our members, through targeted and sustained action. A strategy based on listening to members feedback, has already delivered an historic ballot result for our union, record levels of media coverage about our demands, and over 120 days of strike action since December.

It has also seen our union grow, as thousands of new members join the fightback for decent pay, pensions justice, job security and against the threat to our redundancy rights. Under our leadership – and built on our strategy and national campaign – membership of our union is at the highest level since before check-off was removed across the Civil Service in 2015.

The Left Unity leadership of PCS has also been at the forefront of attempts to build a coalition of unions to fight back against the cost of living crisis engulfing society. Having already forced a debate in Parliament, taking our demands to the heart of government, we continued our legal challenge alongside other unions over the theft of members pensions contributions, and led calls for mass co-ordinated industrial action with other unions. This helped deliver the hugely successful national strike on the 1st February, alongside half a million public sector workers.

Not just limited to the national campaign, the senior leadership of our union have also supported and built for industrial action wherever there is a mood amongst members, delivering a huge victory on pay for our members working for Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) on a DBS contract in the Home Office, and the ongoing campaign in the MoJ, with the Common Platform Dispute, just two examples.

All of the above shows that our union is fighting, growing, and winning for our members under a Left Unity leadership, but I have been equally proud of the decisions we have taken to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities. From pushing for and winning a suspension of conditionality and benefit sanctions during the pandemic, within DWP Group, to supporting and funding the legal challenges at national level, against the abhorrent Channel Pushback and Rwanda Deportation policies, we have taken brave and morally correct decisions following feedback from our members. The legal action against the two Home Office polices has seen an end to the Pushback Policy and has meant so far not one deportation to Rwanda has taken place. Literally saving lives and helping the most vulnerable.

If re-elected as your leadership Left Unity members, and our comrades in the Democracy Alliance, will work to build on the successes we have already delivered, continue pushing for co-ordination with other unions willing to fight against the attacks to our living standards, and continue to build members participation in our union.

Please support myself and other Democracy Alliance candidates for a strong and focussed union leadership, that will always put our members needs first, through campaigning and taking action when you are prepared to take action, while defending your jobs and the vital services you provide.