This branch briefing gives information and advice about organising for the maximum success on 8/9 March to defend the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. Branches should make sure that the advice in this circular is acted on. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help or support.
Plan what you are going to do
If possible hold an urgent BEC meeting to discuss and plan how to maximise support for the union’s campaign.
If you cannot hold a BEC meeting make sure all of the reps in the branch talk to each other and agree a plan.
Hold Members Meetings
Branches are urged to hold as many members meetings as possible. Management will not allow time and premises. Organise lunchtime meetings off premises or short car park meetings. Use these meetings to remind every member why they should support the strike.
Use the Campaign materials
The PCS website has a full range of campaign materials including a Q+A brief and picketing guidance to help you deal with members questions. Make sure you download or order supplies of everything you need. Some campaign material will only be sent to you if you order it.
Give campaign materials to members
Make sure that the All Members leaflets and briefings are given out to every union member.
Talk to members Face to Face
You cannot use departmental email to encourage support for the strike.
Every PCS rep should find ways and time to talk to members about the strike to answer any questions they have and encourage them to support the strike. Use your own time, use breaks and leaflet outside offices in the mornings and at lunchtime.
Ask every non member to join PCS
Union membership always goes up during strikes. Now is a brilliant time to ask every non member to join PCS.
A DWP specific recruitment leaflet aimed at Fixed Term Contract and Casual staff is on the DWP page of the PCS website. Down load it and use it now to ask every FTC and Casual to join the union.
Lobby your MP’s
All branches are being asked by the national union to support the lobby of parliament on Wednesday 3 March. DWP regional secretaries should liaise with branches to make sure that there are 10-15 reps from every DWP region on the lobby.
Branches are also asked to make sure that they lobby MP’s in their local constituency surgery on the weekend of 6/7 March.
Don’t underestimate the power of lobbying MP’s. An election will be held in early May. Every MP is under pressure to get re elected. If your MP is not re standing contact the prospective candidates.
The PCS website campaign materials include guidance on picketing. Make sure that all branch reps have read it and that they understand our legal right to picket and follows the guidance on how to picket. Make sure that every office has a picket line. Ask members to join the picket line not just reps.
Collect hardship money
If you have not already set up a branch hardship fund consider setting one up now. Use every opportunity to collect money to help members in hardship because of the strike. Collect money at Trades Council meetings and have bucket collections on picket lines.
Support the overtime ban
Immediately after the strike there is a national overtime ban. Use the campaign materials to talk to members and tell them to support the overtime ban. Don’t let the employer overcome the strike by using overtime to catch up.
Be prepared for more action
PCS wants a negotiated settlement. General secretary Mark Serwotka has written to the Government asking for more talks.
Massive support for the strike on 8/9 March will send a very strong message to the Government that we won’t let them take away our accrued rights and cut jobs on the cheap.
Because there will be a general election soon we have a brilliant but short window of opportunity to put pressure on the government who will not want a major dispute with their own workers at such a sensitive time.
But because we must exert the maximum pressure quickly if this two day strike doesn’t lead to a settlement the NEC will meet to plan more national strike action in March.
We can and will win
Union solidarity can and will win this dispute.
35,000 members, over 1 in 10 of the membership, attended meetings last year about the CSCS. 80% of them said they would support strike action if all else failed. A massive 18,000 members sent emails to the cabinet office expressing opposition to the Governments attack on the scheme. Our campaign unites all grades and all departments across the civil service.
If we stick together now we will win.