What’s the latest with the pay ballot?
At the PCS Annual Delegate Conference, a motion (A283) was passed calling on the union to meet with the Cabinet Office to discuss pay.
The motion also called on our union to organise a statutory ballot of members for industrial action. Both of these steps will be taken forward, and if the discussions with the Cabinet Office are not successful, then we will move to taking all member targeted strike action.
Are all PCS members going to be in the ballot?
Most members in the civil service will be balloted, but there will be some exceptions. The exceptions will be, broadly:
- non-recognised or commercial sector employers;
- members whose workplace address is overseas
- and employers in the Scottish sector.
And when is the ballot going to take place?
The ballot is likely to open on 18 June and run for 5 weeks, closing on 23 July.
Will members be able to vote online or by phone?
No, unlike the consultative ballot last year, this industrial action ballot could result in the union taking strike action. As such, the law governing this states that we must hold the ballot by postal vote only. This is why we’ve taken so many steps to get members’ ballot address and contact information up to date.
We will also need to get as high above the 50% turnout threshold as possible – what support will be provided to reps in advance of and during the ballot period?
If we fail to get over 50% the ballot will fail and we won’t be able to take action. The higher over 50% we get, the louder our voice will be when speaking to the Cabinet Office.
With the motion passing at conference, a booklet on how to win the ballot, with organising tips and suggestions, will be sent to all reps covered by the ballot. This booklet will compliment a series of Ballot Ready day schools which will be held for activists across the country on 9 and 16 June, with a session also planned in Belfast on 15 June.
Officers in each of the hubs can also attend branches to provide a series of bitesize training courses, which will cover areas such as:
- getting a branch plan in place
- mapping and identifying PCS Advocates
- ‘Talking union’, which provides tips for persuading members unsure about strike action.
For more information or to sign up for any of these, email email@example.com
New materials to advertise the ballot and membership forms to recruit will be sent out to branches. If you do not receive any materials please contact your regional hub, who should also have a supply of materials and can check your contact information. During the ballot period we will also look at introducing digital systems which will systematically record when a member tells us they have voted, as well as phone banks in the evening and at weekends to ensure that we speak to every member in the ballot.
Can new members take part in the ballot?
Yes, and a ballot period is a great time to sign up new members. The final deadline for a member joining is noon on Friday, 13 July. The member must have had their details inputted on to our Commix database by this date – if they have completed and signed a membership form, but it hasn’t been inputted on Commix, then they won’t get a ballot paper. It’s best to send off the completed forms as early as possible.
Depending on when the new members sign up, they will receive their ballot papers in two tranches:
- New members entered on Commix between Monday, 28 May and Friday, 22 June will receive their ballots on or around Friday, 29 June.
- New members entered on Commix after Friday, 22 June and no later than noon on Friday, 13, July will receive their ballots on or around Tuesday, 17 July.
What if someone needs a replacement ballot paper?
Firstly, all members should wait until Tuesday, 26 June before making a request for another ballot paper. Secondly, it must be the member themselves who requests a new ballot; under no circumstances should a rep or member make a request on another member’s behalf.
To request a ballot paper, the member must contact the balloting office by phone (020 7801 2810) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and provide:
- Request for new ballot
- Membership number or National Insurance number
- Ballot address (including postcode)
The deadline for requesting a replacement ballot paper is noon on Monday, 16 July.