The last full week of May was a sunny one in Brighton. Despite this, resisting the urge to top up their tans, delegates from Bootle Taxes Branch set the agenda for PCS’s 2017 HMRC Group Conference.
Following our Annual General Meeting in February, the sheer amount of motions passed meant that almost every section of the agenda contained at least one motion from our branch. Your delegates, three out of four attending Conference for the first time, worked hard to give voice to the positions put forward by members in Bootle.
Although not every motion passed, an awful lot of the GEC’s mandate for the coming year originates from our branch.
Among the most heated subjects of debate was Attendance Management, where branches across the country voiced their outrage. The union now has a clear policy to campaign against and take action on the procedure that Bootle delegate Simon Connell aptly described as a “flustercuck.”
More muted was the debate over Building Our Future. In 2016, two emergency motions were pitted against each other – one calling for an immediate ballot and one calling for a more cautious approach, building towards a ballot. After heated debate, the latter triumphed. This year, the agenda again put two motions in opposition to one another – though there was less of a debate.
A number of delegates voiced support for both the GEC’s emergency motion and the one from Bootle, expressing confusion that they were in opposition to one another. There certainly wasn’t an overwhelming outcry against the Bootle motion.
In their right of reply, the GEC opposed the Bootle motion on the grounds of not fighting for every single office. Whilst the argument put forward was that a defence of every office equalled a defence of the Mapeley contract, which has caused no end of problems, it potentially leaves a number of members at risk of being stranded by the union’s campaign.
More positively, Conference passed a host of motions which committed the GEC to, among other things, broadening out the ISS cleaners’ campaign, challenging the attack on disabled staff who cannot take phone calls in PT Ops, pushing for HMRC jobs for those who don’t wish to move to the DWP with Universal Credit, and campaigning to keep a FIS presence at all major ports and airports.
Four members of the branch were also elected onto the equality advisory committees for the coming year. Simon Connell and Dec Henry are now on the Young Members’ Advisory Committee, Mary Myatt is on the Group Women’s Advisory Committee and Kris Marsden is on the Black Members’ Advisory Committee.
Group Conference was followed by the national Annual Delegate Conference. A report from that will follow.
How our motions fared
Below is a list of all the motions heard at Group Conference which either came from Bootle Taxes or covered a motion which came from our branch on the same subject. The full details of the motions below can be found here.
Motion 5 – Carried
Motion 6 – Carried
Motion 14 – Carried
Motion 17 – Remitted
Motion 49 – Carried
Motion 65 – Carried
Motion 68 – Carried
Motion 70 – Carried
Motion 77 – Carried
Motion 79 – Carried
Motion 80 – Carried
Motion 83 – Remitted
Motion 84 – Carried
Emergency Motion 4* – Fell
*Emergency motion 1 passed at our Mandate Meeting was heard as Emergency Motion 4 at Conference, in a general debate with Emergency Motion 3 from the GEC.