6 July 2021

Fighting the pay freeze

Sarah Ensor, branch secretary of the Independent Office for Police Conduct branch, describes how she and her colleagues have been making the case for fighting for fair pay

PCS members at the Independent Office for Police Conduct won a 2% pay rise last year and a bit more for a few staff.

Some members were unsure about arguing for more money during a pandemic but we recently had an NHS guest speaker who said: “If we care about the services we provide, we have to fight for its funding and part of that is fighting for pay.”

So last month the branch committee held a Big Pay Debate, which was a great success. 120 members joined the online pay debate where our panel made the case for fighting for pay. 

Our treasurer led off with why we deserve a pay rise and the government can afford it and one of our reps bust some pay myths. Our 23-year-old organiser argued that strikes and campaigning action can recruit young people to the union because then they can see the point of joining.

Two members said they felt well paid and we should focus on younger people. Others said we all need more money, backed up facts about rising rent, council tax and energy bills. We discussed whether the NHS should get a pay rise before us. Someone said no one's ever heard of us and it won't make any difference and others argued for fighting and linking up with other unions.

New members asked how strikes work, others talked about their experience of striking ─ good and bad ─ and we discussed lessons from the DVLA strikes.  

We now have a group of members and branch officers working on ideas for the pay campaign. This government has been forced to U-turn many times over the last year and with enough pressure, we can win a real pay rise that starts to heal the damage done over the last decade.

Let us know what's happening in your branch. Email web@pcs.org.uk