Jennifer Dobison, Cobalt
The AGM is a chance for union members to get together and talk about the things that everybody is concerned about at work. People complain all the time but the union AGM is the place where we can start to do something to change things for the better.
I know that union policy is decided at the union conference by all branches but our local AGM is where we start to decide union policy and plan campaigns.
I think it is great that something we discuss at our AGM can end up as union policy and make a really big difference to all DWP staff.
For instance even though we are getting more pay in the DWP because of the Employee Deal we are still low paid and need a big pay rise. That’s why I want us to be part of the national pay campaign. The AGM is where we can all discuss that together.
We never have enough staff and everybody is always under loads of pressure. We need more staff and at the AGM we can work out how to fight for more staff.
To be honest though I don’t think that we are any different to other jobs. Nurses and teachers and people in those types of jobs need more pay and more staff for the health service and schools. At the AGM we will be talking about how PCS can campaign with other unions to get the government to give more help to things like the NHS and education.
Last year’s AGM was my first and it was a bit confusing at first how it all works but the chair of the meeting explained things as we went along and made everybody welcome.
The meeting has to do some formal things like elections but mostly it is a chance for you to have your say. We had a good guest speaker, Angela Grant, as well.
I hadn’t planned to but when the chair asked for people who would like to get involved and join the committee I put my hand up to volunteer and before I knew it the meeting had agreed to me being on the branch committee.
I didn’t really know what it would mean – getting involved – but I have enjoyed it and have just become the Northern region’s national young members’ convenor. I help where I can to encourage members to vote and go to meetings. I have had training and feel as if I am part of something bigger that makes a difference.”
Why don’t you go to your AGM? Ask your local PCS rep about when and where it is and help to decide PCS policy.