Coup D'etat Attempted in PCS - Mark Serwotka “removed”

Report from a PCS member
Dated: 24/5/2002

An amazing and unlawful coup d'etat has taken place in PCS, overthrowing the elected President and incoming General Secretary of the Union. A determined response will have to be organised, with legal action and a campaign involving the PCS membership. We are only able to let you have an outline of the facts at the moment.

The recent PCS Conference voted by a huge majority to confirm the agreement whereby the outgoing General Secretary Barry Reamsbottom left PCS employment on 31st May 2002. Reamsbottom has never been elected by the PCS membership. The incoming General Secretary, Mark Serwotka, got over 42,000 votes in the election. Reamsbottom did not think he could get 50 nominations from 1,200 branches to get on the ballot paper. He made a legal agreement to leave on 31st May 2002 before the close of nominations.

However following the NEC elections, where the “National Moderate Group” (“Moderates”) and Inland Revenue Membership First (IRMF) got a majority on the National Executive, Reamsbottom called an NEC for 23rd May. It seems that the Moderates were told a week in advance, and IRMF three days in advance. NEC members who are not in those two political factions (who are mainly members of the Left Unity group) got their notices the day before the meeting or the day of the meeting.

At the meeting a number of papers were presented. Again, some people had obviously had them for a while. Others were seeing them for the first time. The President, Janice Godrich, had taken legal advice and ruled that the meeting was unconstitutional and unlawful. There was no challenge to this, but instead Revenue Vice President Ted Euers declared that he was assuming Presidential powers and claimed to chair the meeting. Despite protests that this was also unconstitutional and unlawful, he purported to hold the meeting in the midst of uproar, and forced through a series of “decisions”.

These included:

  • That Barry Reamsbottom remain as General Secretary until his retirement age.
  • That the agreement between PCS and Barry Reamsbottom that he should finish his term of office on 31/05/02 be ignored.
  • That the election for General Secretary elect be ignored.

This would be a coup - the elected President and General Secretary overthrown by a Vice President and an unelected full time official. The Union would be breaching Mark Serwotka’s contract of employment. We would never tolerate this from our employer and we won't put up with it from the right wing political factions in our Union.

Clearly a massive campaign will have to be organised to return the Union to the control of its elected officers.

All PCS Members are being urged to play their part by ensuring members know what has happened by issuing circulars, emails etc. Also by sending in emails, faxes and letters of protest to PCS HQ.

Additionally if PCS Members know any NEC Members, they are being encouraged to contact them to find out how they voted and their position on this issue. PCS Members will expect NEC Members to respect the elections of the President and General Secretary.