Our national executive has agreed that a national ballot for industrial action on pay will be held between 18 March and 29 April.
Following a widespread consultation, the NEC agreed the national PCS pay claim for 2019 is as follows:
- A cost of living pay increase for all workers in the civil service and its related bodies of 10% with a minimum underpin of £2,400 and a Living Wage of £10 per hour nationally and £11.55 in London.
- National bargaining on pay across the civil service and its related areas.
- Equal pay and coherence of pay and terms and conditions across those areas.
- A mechanism to ensure staff can move to the maximum of their grade.
- The pay increase to be fully funded and not linked to detrimental changes to terms and conditions as we saw in last year’s MEP “offer”
The claim has been formally submitted to the Cabinet Office and all employers in the dispute including the MoJ. Consequently, all MoJ pay talks are suspended.
Ballot questions and voting
The ballot will include all members in the UK civil service impacted by the pay cap and ask two questions: if members will take strike action and if members will take action short of a strike.
The strike action plan involves sustained, targeted strike action in areas agreed by the national disputes committee. This would include specific groups of members who, if they take prolonged strike action, would have a disproportionate impact on important work and on the day-to-day running of important services. The possibility of a disorderly exit from the EU also could mean a substantial increase in the industrial leverage of some of our members, particularly at the borders.
Further consultation would take place before any individual member were asked to take strike action and those taking action would be supported by our fighting fund. The NEC agreed to raise subscriptions by 50p per month from 1 June. That money together with £1m from the settlement of the DWP check-off court case will be placed in the fighting fund to support targeted or extended strike action.
As the ballot refers to strike action, voting can only take place by post. Members are prevented by the Trade Union Act 2016 from voting electronically as we were able to do in the MEP ballot, in a deliberate attempt by the Tory government to make it more difficult for hard working civil servants to fight their attacks upon us. Despite the largest turnout and yes vote in our history in last year’s pay ballot, we were unable to legally take action due to that same legislation, specifically the requirement for a 50% turnout.
It is imperative that within our group we not only equal but better the 74% turnout in last year’s MEP ballot where 94% of members rejected the MoJ’s offer.
After another year of being betrayed on pay, we are more determined than ever to secure the payrise our hardworking members deserve. With the government in total disarray over Brexit and the complexities it brings already gripping their departments, now is the time to seize the moment. Every single member must play their part.
Organising to win
A survey of members conducted in January shows very strong support for the claim and for action, with many hundreds saying they would be willing to help by: phoning other PCS members about the ballot; volunteering as a PCS Advocate; attending campaign events, or lobbying in parliament. More than 2,000 of respondents said they would be willing to hand out leaflets at work.
- Commit to a phone-banking stint shortly after the ballot opens, between 20 and 24 March. We’re aiming to get 1,000 people involved in phoning members about the ballot. A training video and script will be made available to volunteers, as well as software to enable members to call from anywhere.
- Volunteer to take on specific tasks, such as handing out leaflets, recruiting colleagues, reminding friends at work to vote, helping to organise meetings and events, attending a lobby of parliament/speaking to their MP.
- Signing up as an advocate.
Please contact PCS if you are willing to help with the pay campaign.