Stunning turnout for PCS pay protests

03 Apr 2017

PCS payday protests were strongly supported across the country with members sending a clear message to the government to break the 1% public sector pay cap.

Momentum had been building throughout last week ahead of Friday’s protests, with members holding photoshoots with our pay up photo opp cards at recruitment events, training sessions and in their workplaces.

Thousands of members turned out throughout the day, to support our call for a rise of 5% or £1,200, from Oban to Exeter, Lochinver to London and Aberdeen to Cardiff, for the events organised by hundreds of branches across many different employer groups. Hundreds of photos and messages came streaming in to the communications department all day on Friday (31 March).

Lunchtime rallies

There were a number of lunchtime rallies across the country.

Outside the Treasury in London PCS president Janice Godrich told the crowd: “We are outside the Treasury, which is making decisions which are not in our interest – many who work in the Treasury are impacted by the pay freeze. We need to change political will to take this campaign forward."

Our assistant general secretary Chris Baugh called for pay justice.

 "These decisions are based on the myth that economic recovery is based on cutting public spending and driving down the pay of public sector workers. We will get pay justice when we mobilise members and opposition across the public sector," he said.

HMRC rep Andy Roach said: "Members are living in poor standard living conditions as we don’t have the pay to improve conditions. We all deserve a decent pay rise and decent conditions, so let’s do it."

Tim Megone, rep at the Treasury Solicitor’s Department said it was time to bust the pay cap: "Theresa May claims to have an empathy with the ‘just about managing’ but we have faced cuts and pay freezes - busting this pay cap would be a good start."

There was a great turnout for a rally at Buchanan Steps in Glasgow this lunch-time. Reps from DWP Northgate, HMRC Cotton House and Portcullis House, Scottish Government West of Scotland branches, Ofgem, MOJ HMCTS Office, DSg Scotland and Northern Ireland branch came along, and our friends from the RMT.

Highlighting disgraceful policy

Scores of people turned out for a lunchtime protest in Derby Square, Liverpool, where PCS national executive committee member Lawrence Dunne addressed the crowd, He said “I’d like to thank PCS members for their magnificent support of this campaign and the great turnout today. We are here to highlight the disgraceful policy of this government of holding down the pay of their workers. 

“While we hear stories of people having to put their duvets over themselves because they can’t afford to put their heating on, MPs are receiving an 11% pay rise and ex-chancellor George Osborne is making huge amounts of money from six jobs while still pretending to be an MP. We say enough is enough.”

Our defence sector members in the North West have created a document to compare their meagre pay rise with that of pay cap/freeze originator George ‘6 jobs’ Osborne.

Their message was clear: your ‘Jams’ need more bread.

Debbie Butler, from the north west branch described her situation: “I’ve been here for 20 years and have been on the max for a while now so am only getting the 1%. I have two small children and last year my husband was made redundant. My mother had to pay our mortgage payments a few times to help us out. I also thought about asking for a referral to the local food bank.”

There were plenty of PCS flags in the crowd gathered outside the Welsh Government building in Cardiff. And in Northern Ireland there were members’ meetings held across HMRC sites – on Thursday evening and during Friday, attracting 300 members to discuss pay and other issues. 

Dozens of people attended a demo in Birmingham from MoJ, HMRC and Highways England. Lee Barron, regional secretary of the Midlands TUC, spoke in solidarity with the protesters. Andrew Lloyd, PCS regional secretary, expressed thanks to those protesting.

Look back on how the day unfolded on our live blog, on Twitter and on our Flickr account. 

Thanks for your incredible support.

Keep up the pressure on the government by emailing Treasury minister David Gauke.

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