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PCS Conference Civil servants vow to fight alongside Labour for end to austerity

MARCUS BARNETT reports from Brighton

CIVIL servants’ political aims are “identical” to those of the Labour leadership, delegates to PCS conference confirmed yesterday.

Workers noted the “widespread opposition” — supported by Labour — to the “cuts and privatisation agenda” of the Tory government.

On behalf of the national executive committee (NEC), PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said that Labour’s political orientation under leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell is “identical” to what PCS fights for.

He pointed out that last year’s Labour manifesto committed the party to repealing anti-union laws, ending the public-sector pay cap and returning to national pay bargaining in the Civil Service, as well as other longstanding PCS aims.

The union — which is not allowed to affiliate to any political party — gave branches permission to support 91 Labour candidates in the 2017 general election, but the executive committee motion said this had not been effective enough.

Delegates voted to develop an “effective” political strategy involving “advancing our industrial agenda through national union support for a Corbyn-led Labour government.”

Conference instructed the NEC to conduct a widespread consultation with all branch, local, regional and national committees on how best the union could increase support for a campaign to elect the party under Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell.

Mr Serwotka said: “We need to get rid of the Tories, who have been implementing austerity cuts.

“Can anyone dispute that, when the next election comes, it will be in our members interests to have a Labour government led by Corbyn and McDonnell?

“It must follow that it is in the interests of our members, their families, and their communities, that we want Jeremy Corbyn and those policies to be in power.”

Those opposing the motion denounced it as introducing “affiliation by the back door” — though the motion calls for “active engagement” with the government and politicians of all parties to influence policy.

The motion was passed overwhelmingly.

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