In the consultative ballot held at the end of last year the national turnout was 48.9% and the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of the PCS national campaign demand for a 5% pay rise. In the DWP the turnout was 45.68%. All DWP branches will by now have received the breakdown of their own ballot results.
Need to build in the DWP
The turnout in the DWP of 45.63% was disappointing but it is clear that it was because of misunderstandings about the Employee Deal leading some DWP reps and members to think they are not part of the national pay campaign.
DWP branches now need to build on this result and get better organised so that we can be confident that if we have a statutory national ballot we can get a turnout in the DWP well above the 50% needed by law to have a strike.
All PCS branches including all DWP branches have already been asked to organise pay day protests in March and April. But another key part of building for the national campaign will be considering your branch consultative ballot result and getting better organised for a statutory ballot.
DWP Branches Working Together with PCS Full Time Officers and Staff
All DWP branches will now be contacted by a PCS Full Time member of staff to discuss and agree your organising priorities based on your national consultative ballot result. Your branch will be contacted by a Full Time union official to help and support you in this important national pay campaign work. The DWP GEC strongly urges all DWP branches to get on with this work as a priority and work closely with your allocated Full Time Officer.
Looking closely at your Consultative Ballot data
All DWP branch secretaries and branch chairs will have had two emails to their personal email addresses. The email will be from firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have not received them contact the PCS national organising department. The first email will have the breakdown of ballot results for your branch in an Excel spreadsheet attachment. The second email will give you the password for your spreadsheet. The data you are being sent will show the ballot result for your specific branch only, detailing numbers of members balloted, the turnout and yes/no votes for both questions broken down for each workplace in your branch.
The ballot information gives a crucial indication of the strength of your branch and therefore an indication of the work that needs to be done to build support for the pay campaign in each of our workplaces.
Consideration of the ballot result in your branch
We are asking all branches to consider the following questions when looking at the ballot result for your branch:
- Why did members vote/not vote in particular workplaces/areas across your branch;
- What work did the branch undertake to try and deliver the vote;
- What more could be done to encourage members to vote if we were to hold further (statutory) ballots
Organising: building the foundations
Within the next few months we need to be in a position to be confident that if we were to call any statutory ballots over our pay demands we would get the required 50% turnout in every workplace and in every branch we ballot.
The starting point is to ensure that we have the foundations right in all of our branches.
To this end we are asking branches to concentrate on the following areas:
- Mapping: how sophisticated is the ‘map’ your branch has of its workplace? How well does your branch know your members, the profile of your members, where your members are or where your potential members are?
- Distribution networks: How reliable are the distribution networks in your branch? Can we get hard copy materials to the right reps and advocates in your branch and know that these materials will be handed to members quickly and efficiently?
- Contacts: How up-to-date is the contact information we hold for members in your branch? We need private (non-work) contact information for every member in the branch – mobile numbers and personal emails
This organising work is the union’s priority
Having a strong union in the DWP that can deliver a ballot result that helps the national union win on pay depends on us being well organised.
Remember you will be supported in this work by a full time member of PCS staff. The DWP GEC strongly urges all DWP branches to get on with this work as a priority and work closely with your allocated full time officer.