Branches have been busy supporting the PCS national pay campaign over the past week, engaging with members and providing advice, and support, on how to take part in the democracy of our union.This support has been critical in getting the message across on how important this campaign is and in explaining why membership support is so critical.
The Group Executive Committee would like to thank you all for your effort and commitment so far and we are delighted that the feedback is both positive and encouraging even at this early stage.There is still much work to do over the next few weeks with branches and representatives planning a series of activities to encourage members’ participation in the national pay campaign.It is important therefore representatives protect themselves against any risk of punitive action and follow the advice on what activities they can carry out and where.
Restrictions by DWP
As expected the department has issued guidance to their managers about what to expect during this phase of the campaign and more importantly what they will permit. The DWP have made it clear that “all employees’ conduct, both inside and outside the workplace, must not bring the DWP, its ministers or the government into disrepute”,and it has highlighted the DWP Employee Relations Framework (ERF) which states
PCS would remind reps and branches that DWP are effectively prohibiting:
- The distribution of any literature that promotes industrial action on their premises; including distribution using paper desk drops.
- The use of office facilities and official premises for PCS to engage in the preparation or implementation of any type of industrial action, including; car parks on the office footprint; the use of the internal courier, printing, photocopiers and stationery; the use of departmental IT, including e-mail, for the sending of direct links to material promoting industrial action on external websites, or to notify TU members of meetings to discuss industrial action.
- The use of facility time, either TUD or TUA, to engage in the preparation or implementation of any type of industrial action.
The union will obviously provide support to our reps and members throughout this campaign and will challenge any over-zealous implementation of this guidance and report any unacceptable behaviour by the employer. This has already been done in at least one case.
We would remind PCS activists though that we can anticipate the above guidance being implemented and where it is we should all be careful not to leave ourselves open to any action or criticism.
PCS would advise branches and representatives to follow these basic principles:
Engaging with members directly is key to this campaign succeeding. With the constraints identified above it is easier to have the necessary conversations with members off DWP premises and in the presence of like-minded and supportive colleagues;
Leafleting members regarding industrial action should be done off premises and, where required, on public land ensuring there is no risk to the public;
Every effort should be made to engage all members wherever possible and so leafleting at various times of the day, and on different days, should be done to cover as many working patterns as possible;
Car Park meetings should be held off premises and carried out in members own time;
Members should not use the internal IT systems to discuss or promote the campaign and should avoid using the internal post to return any mail regarding the campaign;
Bring your post to work days
The Trade Union and Labour (Consolidated) Relations Act, Section 230, prevents the union from organising any event or carrying out any practices which could be deemed as “interfering” with the current campaign activity.
Whilst we understand that both reps and members will be keen to organise and take part in collective events we would urge caution when it comes to the mailing of post as part of the campaign.
PCS advises that individual members are responsible for the posting of any mail linked to the campaign over the coming weeks, and PCS representatives should not act as a central collection point for post from members. This obviously does not preclude individuals asking a colleague to do them a favour if they are passing a post box as we are aware some members have already done.
Any post should be sent using the external postal service provided by the Royal Mail. This can include individuals handing their mail to a postal worker who may be visiting DWP premises, but again should be done outside the office.
If you require any further advice you should contact PCS Group Office in Leeds.
The GEC would again like to thank you all for the hard work you have done so far and urge you all to continue that work over the coming weeks. Engagement with members is the key to this campaign and with that approach we can help deliver for our members what they deserve...WE ALL DESERVE A PAY RISE!