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PFLGMB?
by Barrabas

The following motion appears on the PCS@GMB (The PCS full-timers union) AGM order paper as Motion No.1:

This GMB Branch is appalled by the content of the PFL/CPSA newsletter & website. Its’ content is defamatory towards fellow trade unionists and the level of personal attacks are neither humorous nor productive. We note that there is no clear PCS policy on this issue. We call upon the Branch Committee to take the following actions:

1. Press PCS management to formulate a policy on this issue.

2. Press PCS management to halt its’ practice of condoning this publication through silence, by banning it from all official PCS venues such as Conference and withdrawing access to the website from PCS workstations, if possible.

3. Instruct all members of the Branch to stop communicating with this destructive and libellous publication and warn anyone thinking of ignoring this instruction that they may stand in breach of the GMB rule book if they do so.

4. Support GMB members who are personally attacked by this vicious rag.

Proposer: to be announced
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The preamble needs a bit of work: PFL/CPSA does not exist, nor has it ever. If they meant PFLCPSA they should have said so. "Newsletter"? Wossat? The PFL issues Communiqués - it clearly uses this word (with the acute accent) on the front page of its conference publications. The levels of personal attacks that can be humorous and productive cannot be defined - surely that depends on the audience - slagging off Thatcher at a Tory do doesn't go down nearly so well as if you do it at a Labour shindig.

Point 1 should be interesting: how would PCS convey this proposed new policy to the members?

Point 2: surely ignoring the PFL denies it the oxygen of publicity. Banning any publication from distribution at PCS Conference because a GMB Branch doesn't like it could be the thin end of the wedge (know what I mean, Caucus & Unity), and does not sound very democratic.

I'm particularly fond of point 3: threatening your members with the GMB Thought Police; is this the way to encourage membership of a modern TU? I don't have a copy of the GMB rule book to hand, but if you can be disciplined for just thinking about something....even Uncle Joe didn't go that far (although The Inquisition did). I'm sure Winston Smith fully understands point 3. Incidentally, the PCS GMB Branch whistleblowers leak like a sieve in our direction, but we don't identify them: how do you think I got hold of a set of AGM papers? Osmosis?

Withdraw access to the website from workstations? Easy enough, but pointless: If I could be arsed I could set up mirror sites through freebie ISPs and automate the process, opening and closing sites at will, faster than Gordy can keep up with blocking them all. Anyway, the site can still be accessed by GMB members from outside (unless the Thought Police get 'em).

Libellous? How very dare they! Any fule no that you have to have a character that can be defamed, that what was written about you was untrue, and that you have sought a remedy before you approach the bourgeois Courts. Pompous gits.

Point 4: How?

Overall, I'm disappointed with the deep flaws. I can hardly even be bothered to point out the incorrect use of apostrophes every time the word "its" is used. Doesn't GMB teach its reps how to frame and table a motion properly and in English (or Welsh, to be inclusive)? I note that this is the only motion to be put to the AGM that does not include the name and job/location of the proposer, doubtless to prevent outbreaks of giggling from fellow GMB members. I also feel they've missed an opportunity to forward the motion to the national union, so that it can waste their time, too. Pity it doesn't call for industrial action (but I don't suppose you need to with the Thought Police).

PCS members subs pay for the facility time for the GMB Branch AGM. Questions should be asked as to whether this motion is an appropriate use of facility time, and whether a reduction in the time allowed for members to attend the AGM is appropriate.

I can only conclude that the motion was drawn up in a drunken rage on the back of an exfoliated beer mat and seemed like a good idea at the time. Jolly jape chaps!