Pay campaign timeline


14 November

Pay campaign update: working to win

As members attend hundreds of meetings to discuss pay offers and the next steps in our campaign in the civil service and related bodies, the union continues preparations for a potential new ballot and demands that the Cabinet Office gets serious about a fully-funded pay rise that’s significantly above inflation.

Wales: steps towards collective bargaining 

Following talks with PCS and its sister unions, first minister Mark Drakeford has accepted the need for a more coherent pay system in the Welsh public sector and agreed to open talks through a subcommittee of the devolved sector
group (DSG).

13 June

Treasury pay remit – 1% pay increase unless departments find savings

Sacrifice your terms and conditions if you want more than a 1% pay increase, is the stark message the government has sent to PCS members through the Treasury pay remit guidance published today.

7 June

PCS pressing for fair pay ahead of Treasury remit announcement

PCS continues to press for an above-inflation pay settlement across the civil service and related areas in talks with the Cabinet Office ahead of the publication of the Treasury’s pay remit guidance, expected in the next few days.

21 May 

Conference endorses motion for national aggregated pay ballot 

PCS conference endorses the national executive’s motion for a further national, aggregated, statutory ballot for industrial action on pay at the earliest appropriate opportunity following a lively debate.

3 May

Next steps in the pay campaign

The failure to reach the threshold for lawful industrial action is disappointing, but many areas of the union achieved fantastic results. The turnout overall was up 6% from the last ballot in 2018. 

30 April

Massive vote for action on pay, but anti-union laws will block a strike

PCS members in the civil service vote by four to one in favour of strike action and action short of strike over pay, however, the ballot turnout of 47.7%, while over 6% higher than in 2018, is still just under 3,000 votes short of reaching the required 50% threshold.

29 April 

PCS postal pay ballot closes


2 April

Sedwill and Manzoni should value staff by paying them what they’re worth

We value you but not enough to give you a decent pay rise is the message on repeat from senior civil servants using hollow words to express admiration for staff with ever increasing workloads as they prepare the UK for Brexit.


18 March 

PCS pay ballot opens 

The PCS postal pay ballot opens with a message that now is the time for change on pay, and the only way to make that change is to vote yes for strike action and yes for action short of strike. It runs until noon on 29 April.

Empty words don’t pay the bills Sir Mark

Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill emails civil servants to praise them for their commitment and professionalism carrying out government policy on Brexit and delivering public services while completely ignoring the fact that the vast majority of them haven’t had a decent pay rise for nearly a decade

5 March

Civil service equal pay wait 64 years and counting

Women in the civil service have been waiting for 64 years for the equal pay they were promised. It's more important than ever to get involved in the PCS pay campaign to close the gender pay gap.


7 February 

Facebook Live event in Bristol

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka answers members' questions on and offline at latest our Facebook Live event, broadcast live from our office in Bristol.

6 February 

PCS to launch industrial action ballot 

The national executive committee decides unanimously to hold a ballot - 18 March to 29 April - of over 120,000 members working in government departments for strike action over pay. 

31 January

What does civil service payday mean to you?

On the first payday of 2019 we asked PCS members what it means to them.

21 January

Facebook Live event

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka hosts our latest Facebook Live event bringing members up to date on our pay campaign.


14 December

PCS launches large-scale pay campaign consultation

PCS branches, groups, equality forums and members have the opportunity to comment on the direction of our pay campaign with the launch of a large-scale consultation.

9 November

PCS to consult members on plan to win on pay in 2019

The PCS national executive committee met on Wednesday (7 November) and made important decisions about our national public sector pay campaign. The meeting followed a 6-week consultation period with branches, and the NEC decided that the information will be used to develop an outline campaign strategy for pay in 2019. The NEC will agree the strategy at its December meeting.

1 November

Angry about your pay? Get essential PCS campaign training this November

PCS plans hundreds of pay campaign training and briefing sessions across the UK in November and invites all members to volunteer their time by registering their interest on our online form.

24 October

High Court judgement confirms the farce of delegation 

PCS was disappointed to learn our joint judicial review application on the pay remit guidance consultation with the FDA and Prospect failed. As a result, we demanded a meeting with the government’s chief people officer, Rupert McNeil, to address matters arising from the judgement.

23 October

Performance-related pay latest insult to public sector workers

Tory plans to re-hash discredited proposals to introduce performance-related and regional pay across the public sector were condemned by PCS.

5 October 

Unions unite in High Court over civil service pay

PCS, Prospect and the FDA present evidence over the government’s handling of public sector pay awards.

7 September

Mark Serwotka: get involved in PCS to ensure we win the next pay ballot

Get involved in PCS in your workplace to win justice on pay by emailing, was the message from PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka

30 August

PCS members say resounding no to MoJ MEP plans

PCS is calling on the Ministry of Justice to reopen pay negotiations following a huge vote by members against plans to cut terms and conditions across the department, extend the working week and make bank holidays and Saturdays part of regular hours.

22 August

Fair pay fight goes on as PCS rejects MOD pay offer

PCS Defence Sector Group rejects the Ministry of Defence pay offer for 2018 as it comes nowhere meeting the demands of our national pay claim.

21 August

Update: civil service unions legal proceedings on pay

PCS, Prospect and FDA's application for judicial review of the government’s consultation over the 2018 civil service pay guidance likely to be heard in early October.

9 August

Civil service unions jointly issue legal proceedings over pay

PCS, Prospect and FDA have launched legal proceedings seeking judicial review of the government’s consultation over the 2018 civil service pay guidance.

25 July

NEC statement following the PCS pay ballot

The PCS national executive committee meets to discuss the outcome of the pay ballot and makes a number of key decisions to continue the pay campaign in 2018 and 2019.


23 July

Pay ballot result

Huge strike vote – but anti-union strike laws prevent action.

28 June

Unions unite to call for withdrawal of civil service pay remit after showdown with ministers

Civil service unions FDA and Prospect join PCS in pressuring the government to withdraw the civil service pay remit following crunch talks 


25 June

“Broken promises” as Treasury publish pay remit without consultation

Despite two assurances to the contrary the Treasury publishes the 2018 pay remit guidance, without consultation with the unions. PCS expresses anger and disappointment that the Treasury failed to consult our union before announcing government departments would be able to make average pay awards above 1-1.5%, but only in exchange for further cuts.


18 June

PCS pay ballot opens

All eligible members urged to vote yes for a 5% pay rise in our statutory pay ballot and send a powerful message to the government.

29 June – show your support for the ballot 

PCS members asked to show they’ve voted yes in the pay ballot on our latest day of payday activities on 29 June.

Facebook Live from Liverpool 20 June

To mark the start of the PCS pay ballot our general secretary Mark Serwotka broadcasts live via Facebook from a reps’ pay meeting in Liverpool


7 June

PCS to press ahead with strike ballot over pay after government confirms 1% funding for civil service

Ministers reveal they are using the spending review from 2015 to budget for a derisory 1% pay rise for civil service staff.

6 June 

MP grills ministers over civil service pay

PCS parliamentary group chair Chris Stephens calls on ministers to release figures on how many civil servants are in receipt of tax credits as the pay freeze continues to hurt our members.

24 May 

31 May – join payday protests and get ready for the PCS pay ballot

All members are urged to join PCS payday protests on 31 May as we gear up for our most important industrial action ballot for years.

22 May 

PCS fringe meeting: Building to win the pay campaign

How to win the most significant ballot PCS has held in years debated at a packed fringe conference meeting.

PCS to launch industrial action ballot after overwhelming national conference vote

PCS members in the civil service and related areas to be balloted for strike action over pay, which could see 150,000 workers walk out this summer.

Mark Serwotka tells PCS to seize the moment on pay

Seize the moment and vote for industrial action on pay is the message from PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka as he delivers the union’s annual report to conference.

18 May

Join PCS Facebook Live from conference 22 May

Our general secretary Mark Serwotka discusses the next steps in our pay campaign.

15 May

PCS members join TUC demo to demand fair pay

PCS members are out in force to demand a decent pay rise as they join the clarion call for a new deal for working people marching at the TUC's national demo in London on 12 May.

26 April

PCS conference to debate pay strike ballot 

It is now clear from a letter received from a Cabinet Office minister in response to our 5% pay claim inviting PCS to talks that the government has only budgeted for a 1% pay rise for the UK civil service and related areas. PCS members have previously been led to believe that the 1% pay cap had been lifted.

18 April

Pledge to support 12 May TUC march

PCS members urged to support our call for a fully-funded, above inflation pay rise for all civil servants which will be heard across the union movement in London on 12 May when PCS joins a large-scale TUC march.  

16 April

30 April join the Big PCS Pay Petition Day

PCS urges all members to get involved in our Big Pay Petition Day on 30 April to continue to put pressure on the government as we await its response to our pay claim.

12 April

Mark Serwotka: Let's achieve pay justice this year

PCS members must be ready to take action on pay to put pressure on the government as we await their response to our pay claim.

10 April

Time for the Cabinet Office to stand up for civil servants on pay

PCS meets Cabinet Office officials over our national pay claim for the UK civil service and related areas. We argue that employers in other parts of the public sector made representations to the government for funding for pay rises and that the civil service should not be an exception. It is time the Cabinet Office stood up for civil servants. 

29 March

12 May - join PCS marching for a 5% pay rise 

We call on PCS members and supporters from across the UK to join us and thousands of others from across the union movement on the TUC’s march in London on 12 May to call for a fully-funded, above inflation pay rise for all civil servants.

28 March

29 March - keeping up the pressure on pay

Our payday protests will continue ahead of the Easter weekend with our sticker up workplace campaign. We are asking you to show support by wearing a special pay sticker on Thursday 29 March. 

14 March

Talks imminent on PCS pay claim

The government needs to know that PCS is serious about being prepared to do what is necessary to get our members an above-inflation pay rise, our general secretary Mark Serwotka says ahead of imminent pay talks with the Cabinet Office.

13 March

No end to pay misery in chancellor's spring statement

Chancellor Philip Hammond describes the economic outlook as “light at the end of the tunnel”, but offers nothing but gloom for most public sector workers.

20 February

Join our Facebook Live event 13 March

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell to join PCS general secretary Mark Serwotk for our latest Facebook Live event on 13 March to give their response to that day’s chancellor’s spring statement.

31 January

PCS protestors demand an end to the pay cap

PCS members across the United Kingdom have been holding payday protests on the first payday of 2018 and highlighting how much they have lost under the civil service pay cap.

29 January

PCS reveals 11 of places hardest hit by civil service pay cap

Ahead of our payday protests on Wednesday (31 January) we reveal 11 of the workplaces hardest hit by the government’s 1% civil service pay cap.

27 January

Why we are protesting over pay

Ahead of PCS payday protests on Wednesday (31 January) our members share their experiences of increased hardship under the pay cap.

26 January

Pay cap costs local economies £1.7 billion

Local economies across the UK have been deprived of nearly £1.7 billion because of the civil service 1% pay cap and freeze, PCS reveals ahead of payday protests across the UK on 31 January.

25 January

PCS makes national pay demand to government

PCS calls for urgent talks with the Cabinet Office over our 2018 pay claim which calls for a fully-funded 5% pay rise, a Living Wage of £10 an hour, pay equality across the civil service and a common pay and grading structure. 

15 January

31 January protests to say we all deserve a pay rise now

As momentum grows in our pay campaign we want all members to join national payday protests on 31 January and join regional TUC public sector events on 14 February, as part of the TUC Love Unions week.


6 December

After the budget – PCS NEC decides on next steps from ballot-ready to strike-ready

The momentum of the PCS pay campaign is building as we head into 2018 as we argue that the Treasury pay remit, which sets the parameters for settling pay across the civil service, must formally lift the 1% public sector pay cap for civil servants and enable departments to pay above inflation increases.

22 November

PCS slams government's failure to use the budget to act on public sector pay

PCS members and workers across the public sector face growing pay poverty as chancellor Philip Hammond fails to act to address the crisis in public sector pay in his budget this lunchtime.

11 November

PCS tells chancellor use budget to end pay misery

Tens of thousands of chancellor Philip Hammond’s own staff are supporting the PCS campaign to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap and for fully funded, above inflation pay rises, our general secretary Mark Serwotka tells him in a letter.

7 November

PCS members vote overwhelmingly to back campaign of action on pay

A decisive yes vote by tens of thousands of PCS members in our consultative ballot on pay sends a powerful message to the government to act to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap and fund above inflation pay rises.

31 October

Second round of payday protests sends another clear message to the government

Following the success of 29 September, PCS members from across the UK were once again protest at their workplaces to call on the government to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap and deliver fully-funded rises for all.


20 October

Another reason to vote yes yes in PCS pay ballot - government refusal to fund pay rises

The government's disgraceful refusal to fund above inflation pay rises for our members, confirmed by chancellor Philip Hammond this week, gave members yet another reason to vote yes in our pay ballot.

19 October

Join payday protests on 31 October

Payday protests, supported by thousands of PCS members, are taking place across the UK on 31 October to help heap the pressure on the government ahead of the budget on 22 November.

18 October

Mark Serwotka tells rally: immediate 5% wage rise for all

Public sector workers should have an immediate 5% wage rise, without it being paid for by job cuts, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka tells a TUC pay rally opposite parliament.

17 October

Pressure on public sector pay cap gains momentum

As PCS ballots its members on the civil service pay cap, other unions are also campaigning and planning action over pay.

12 October

Great appetite for PCS Facebook Live pay event

Thousands of people watched our first Facebook live event to hear PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka answer dozens of members’ questions about our campaign to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap.

6 October

PCS pay calculator proving very popular

Ahead of the opening of our consultative ballot on pay on Monday thousands of members have been using the PCS pay calculator to see how the 1% pay cap affects them.

5 October

Join 17 October joint union Westminster pay march and lobby

We all deserve a pay rise is the message PCS is taking to a TUC rally and lobby in Westminster on 17 October, as part of our campaign to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap and achieve fully funded and above inflation pay rises for all public sector workers.

4 October

PCS to host a Facebook Live event ahead of the pay

To coincide with ballot papers arriving through the post for our consultative ballot on pay, our general secretary Mark Serwotka holds a Facebook Live event on pay at 7pm on 11 October.

2 October

Use PCS calculator to see how pay cap affects you

PCS launches a pay calculator to show the impact of the 1% public sector pay cap on our members as part of our campaign to force the government to scrap the cap and give all public sector workers fully-funded, above inflation pay rises.

29 September

Payday protests get massive backing from members

“We all deserve a pay rise,” is the message from PCS members across the UK who take part in vibrant, well-supported payday protests to call on the government to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap and deliver fully-funded rises for all.

27 September

PCS welcomes Corbyn's commitment on pay

PCS welcomes Jeremy Corbyn’s commitment to end the 1% public sector pay cap and the value he places on public sector workers. 

18 September

29 September - join PCS payday protests

We all deserve a pay rise is the message from thousands of PCS members who will be calling for the 1% public sector pay cap to be scrapped in lunchtime payday protests at their workplaces across the UK on 29 September.

13 September

Scrap the cap, close the gap - TUC hears

47 years after the Equal Pay Act women are still being paid less than their male colleagues - and the TUC will fight to address this, was the message heard loud and clear at Congress.

12 September

PCS TUC fringe: public sector unions must work together to achieve decent pay rises across public sector

Unions must be ready to force the government to give all public sector workers a decent pay rise if the November budget fails to offer properly-funded increases for all, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told our packed TUC Congress fringe.

PCS at LRC TUC fringe: achieve decent pay rises and transform people's lives

If we deliver decent public sector pay rises we can transform people’s live and change politics in Britain, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told a TUC fringe meeting of the LRC.

11 September

Mark Serwotka to TUC: let's unit to secure decent pay rises for all 

Unions must unite to help defeat the public sector pay cap and secure decent pay rises for all public sector workers, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told TUC Congress in Brighton

10 September 

Mark Serwotka tells pre-TUC rall we can win on pay

“Now is the time to say we are serious, we are clear, we can win on pay and begin to transform this country to improve people's lives,” PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told a pre-TUC Congress fringe meeting

7 September

PCS at TUC Congress 2017 - together we can break the pay cap

At TUC Congress in Brighton, PCS to call for all public sector unions to unite to defeat the 1% public sector pay cap.

6 September

Scrap the cap – we all deserve a pay rise

We build on our resounding victory in the High Court which overturned the government’s cuts to civil service redundancy pay by launching a major pay campaign, including a consultative ballot.

5 September

PCS to stress need to scrap the cap at pre-TUC meeting

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka to stress the need to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap at a rally in Brighton of the National Shop Stewards Network ahead of TUC Congress on Sunday (10).

4 September

PCS tells government to put your money where your mouth is

PCS tells the government to “put its money where its mouth is” and commit to scrapping the pay cap for all public sector workers, following yet another apparent government U-turn on the public sector pay cap.

18 August

31 August: join PCS Home Office, MOJ and HMRC pay protests

PCS announces plans to hold lunchtime protests across the UK on 31 August calling for the 1% public sector pay cap to be scrapped on the day that the Home Office and Ministry of Justice plan to impose the cap for another 12 months.

31 July 

Protesters say break the pay cap

Break the pay cap, is the message from PCS members at dozens of HMRC workplaces across the UK who join in with our payday protests against the imposition of a maximum 1% annual pay cap.

25 July

PCS NEC decides to hold autumn consultative ballot on pay

Our national executive has agreed to hold a consultative ballot on pay in the autumn in advance of the budget in November to ask members what action they would support, including industrial action, to break the cap.

5 July

Ministers ducking responsibility on pay

PCS says ministers are ducking responsibility over the public sector pay cap by repeatedly claiming they will listen to pay review bodies.

1 July

Marching against cuts and 1% pay cap

The issue of public sector pay is highlighted at the mass anti-cuts march in London

15 June

PCS writes to May to end pay cap

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka writes to prime minister Theresa May to urge her to use the Queen’s Speech to bring an immediate end to the 1% public sector pay cap.

23 May

PCS renews pay campaign

Following a motion to PCS annual delegate conference our union pledges to renew its campaign to end the pay cap in the civil service as members face an “unprecedented squeeze” on earnings.

1 May

Thousands hear demand for pay cap to go

A crowd of thousands who gathered in Trafalgar Square for annual May Day hears PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka stress the need for the next government to lift the 1% public sector pay cap and invest in public services.

29 April

Labour pledges to end pay cap

The Labour party reiterates its commitment to ending the 1% public sector pay cap and to restore collective pay bargaining when it publishes its 20-point plan to transform the workplace

31 March

Members across the country in protests against pay cap

Thousands of PCS members across the UK join the union’s protests to call for the 1% pay cap to be lifted.

11 February

Report shows civil servants' pay lagging behind

A PCS-commissioned report on civil service pay trends from 2007 to 2016  shows that from 2010 to 2016 average civil service pay fell by between and 9% in real terms, a larger fall than the rest of the public sector and the wider economy.



14 September

PCS call for joint campaign to end pay cap

PCS calls on the TUC to actively support and coordinate strike action across the trade union movement to break the government's disastrous 1% public sector pay cap.

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