Although DBS branch had a positive result in the 2018 ballot, we knew that by improving our organising we could achieve an even better turnout in 2019.
We were aware that we faced the dual challenge of canvassing across two sites (separated by 140 miles) with a workforce spread over daytime and evening shifts.
After two of our reps attended a social media course at the regional office, we started to plan how we could use different online platforms to best promote our pay campaign.
Our main aim was to connect with more people and become more visible and approachable for members across both sites with questions surrounding the ballot.
Knowing that we couldn’t promote the ballot on site, we began to fully utilise social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reach out to more than 70% of our branch membership.
Over the 10 weeks leading up to the ballot deadline we made 113 posts on social media, using a variety of articles, photos and videos to pique our members’ interest.
We even challenged our members to send us selfies of themselves posting their vote in a game of “ballot bingo”.
However, we knew that we couldn’t rely on social media to reach everyone.
We therefore began work across both sites to meet with as many members in person as possible.
After Mark Serwotka gave a stirring address at our Liverpool office (which we were able to broadcast to our Darlington colleagues), we began to meet with members in person to reinforce the fact that this ballot would not be the same as 2018 and that, this time, we were encouraging members to vote for targeted strike action.
Many of our members weren’t unaware of the difference.
We created a rota for reps to speak with our members as they arrived to work to explain why we thought this vote would be more effective.
With all of our reps pitching in, we were able to cover each door for most of the morning and early evening and to remind members of key dates/deadlines.
In the closing weeks of the ballot, we began to use the branch app to target members who hadn’t confirmed that they’d voted.
By speaking with them personally, we were able to remind members of the voting deadline, help members to request replacement ballots and dispel some myths around online voting.
Ultimately, we were able to drum up a lot of excitement across both sites, with the result that members began to approach us to ask questions about the ballot without us having to reach out to them.
Many members remarked that they hadn’t seen PCS this engaged with the membership before and wouldn’t have bothered voting if we hadn’t made them aware of how important the ballot was.