Members of Safe Landing attended the national conference of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) as observers, in Brighton on 23 and 24 May.
We seek to develop links and work with activists in all trade unions organising in aviation. PCS has sector “groups” for various parts of the civil service and other areas; that includes an Aviation Group, encompassing workers in the National Air Traffic Service, the Civil Aviation Authority and elsewhere. Significantly, PCS is the only aviation union to have adopted the progressive stance of opposing expansion.
PCS Group conferences take place immediately before the main Annual Delegate Conference. Activists in the Aviation Group invited us to go to their conference at its close on 23 May, giving us an opportunity to meet and discuss with many PCS aviation workers we didn’t know before. It seems this will lead to stronger ongoing links and discussion – and we hope joint activity.
We stayed over for the fringe meeting launching PCS’s initiative for a National Climate Service on 24 May, and used the time to meet quite a number of other people in addition to Aviation Group members, as well as observing some of the conference debates.
That included a meeting with PCS Assistant General Secretary (AGS) John Moloney, the union’s second most senior elected official, who is responsible for its climate work. We discussed our idea of Workers’ Assemblies for a just transition and possibilities for PCS to help organise assemblies in sectors and workplaces where it is active. Time was obviously limited, so we welcomed John’s proposal for a follow up meeting.
We met a wide range of other PCS activists, including from the Department of Transport, formally and informally, and had some very useful discussions, with lots of possibilities for follow up.
We also took time to observe some of the discussion in the conference itself, including the section for motions on climate and environmental issues.
It was great to attend the fringe meeting where PCS launched its project for a public National Climate and Biodiversity Service (National Climate Service, NCS). PCS AGS John Moloney spoke alongside researchers who have produced a report for the union to get the ball rolling. There was a very interesting discussion in which PCS activists from many parts of government and public-sector bodies spoke about both the ideas behind the initiative and what such a service could mean practically in their area.
Many stressed that this is a project that will be amended, developed and re-elaborated as it goes. We’d like to discuss how our idea of Workers’ Assemblies fits into the vision of the NCS.
As at other recent events, we also used the conference to get some solidarity photos for the Heathrow airport security workers’ strike.
We encourage PCS members, particularly in aviation, to get in touch: [email protected]
We will also be attending the Unite policy conference (11-14 July, Brighton).