1 July 2022

What's On? 4 July - 10 July

PCS has a number of great events coming up over the coming fortnight, including courses for both new union reps and new union advocates. Register with PCS Digital to book yourself on to an upcoming course

It is easy to update your PCS details and get ballot-ready

Ahead of our national industrial action ballot on pay, pensions and redundancy pay in September, we need all civil service members to get ballot-ready by updating the details we hold for you on our membership database through PCS Digital.

The first step to getting ready for the ballot is ensuring the details we hold for you are up to date. The easiest and quickest way to update your details is by signing up to PCS Digital and then logging in. This only takes a few minutes.

PCS has improved its online platform, PCS Digital. This is an invaluable resource for members and it’s now easier than ever for you to use to update your membership records.

To have your say in the ballot, please make sure all your personal information is up to date, including:

  • Your name
  • Personal email address
  • Postal address (Do not use your workplace address)
  • Mobile number
  • Grade (or grade equivalent)
  • Current employer
  • Workplace.

Not registered?

If you haven’t registered for PCS Digital all you need to do on the online form is enter your surname, your first name and then your PCS membership number, which has 7 digits and starts with a P (you'll find it on any emails you've had from us). You then enter your personal email address and click on the sign-up button. You will then receive an email from us with instructions on how to set up your password.

If you are unable to amend your details, contact updatemyrecord@pcs.org.uk or call the support centre on freephone 0800 317464.

Working in the summer heat

Read about your rights in the workplace while working in high summer temperatures.

There is no legal maximum working temperature, however there is a legal duty on employers to provide a 'reasonable' temperature in the workplace.

What is reasonable will depend on your workplace, the type of work you do, whether you have any disabilities, medical conditions and other factors.

Employers are also legally obliged to assess risks to the health and safety of their employees, and take action where necessary and where reasonably practicable. This includes workplace temperature.

Resources and training

The TUC is ran a webinar yesterday (30 June), looking at what reps can do to ensure employers assess temperature risks and introduce any necessary prevention or control measures in the workplace. You can watch it online now. 

TUC education also has online micro-learning resources on tackling extreme temperatures and fighting climate change.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website also has useful advice and resources on workplace temperature including information about heat stress and thermal comfort.

If you are experiencing problems with workplace temperatures (including if your home is your workplace) contact your health and safety rep via PCS Digital or email healthandsafety@pcs.org.uk

PCS wins check-off case against Defra

PCS has won a fourth case against a government department over the withdrawal of check-off facilities.

Until 30 January 2015, PCS members in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, were able to pay their union subscriptions by means of 'check-off' arrangements where deductions were made directly from their salaries through the payroll system by the department and paid to PCS. The department then removed members’ ability to pay their subs through their wage slips and were forced to move to paying through direct debit.

Surge in PCS membership applications

As workers fight back against the government’s unwarranted attacks we have seen a surge in interest in PCS membership.

There has also been a massive increase in interest in trade union membership across the labour movement as more and more unions take strike action and ballot their members with the aim of improving their pay and conditions and defeating large-scale cuts.

The current RMT rail strike and talk of industrial action by teachers, post office workers, NHS staff, airport workers and barristers has seen a huge 184% increase in Google searches for 'join union', according to a report by recruitment company Workello. The analysis reveals the increase seen on Wednesday (22) in the UK was the highest level in over a year.

If you work for the civil service or you are on a government contract in the private sector you can join PCS. It only takes a few minutes to join online.

Racism and intolerance: changing attitudes in the workplace - all PCS regions/nations

4 July - 11 July: 9am - 12pm

There has been a disturbing resurgence – often under the false guise of ‘free speech’ – of overt racism, homophobia, misogyny and other hate. And sadly, some workplaces are not free from the trend of scapegoating the most vulnerable in society. Trade Unions have a central role to play in defending our communities, and in campaigning for fairness and equality. This one day workshop utilises materials developed by the TUC, and anti-racism organisations to; help build your confidence in challenging far-right ideas; help you tackle difficult conversations; and give you practical campaigning tips.

Workplace reps: essential building blocks - London and the South East region, and Eastern

4 July - 19 July: 10am - 4pm

This course is aimed at newly-appointed reps and union advocates. It will give you the skills and knowledge to effectively represent your members, covering organising, campaigning, negotiating, equality, and more. The course covers essential approaches and techniques that underpin effective organising and bargaining set in the context of the contemporary trade union movement. This includes the role of the union rep in building the strength of the union, communications, effective negotiations and planning.

Course requirements: Participants are required to currently or prospectively have organising and representational responsibilities as part of their duties.

Sexual harassment - all PCS regions/nations

5 July: 9:30am - 4pm

This short course is aimed at PCS reps (and also open to non-union reps where spaces are available) and will cover: Why sexual harassment is a trade union issue; The law and sexual harassment; supporting members affected by sexual harassment issues; developing workplace policies and practices; challenging workplace cultures which tolerate harassment; .Organising around equality: and promoting the role of harassment champions.
Reps who complete this course may also be interested in delivering a ‘bite-sized’ one-hour version of this session in their workplace (to fellow reps and PCS members), which your tutor will summarise.

Advocates 1 - Eastern, London and the South East

5 July: 12pm - 1pm

The key to a stronger PCS is greater participation by members in the day-to-day running of the union at the local level. If you are willing to help out a little come along to this session to talk about how you can play a role in your union as a workplace advocate.

Organising and industrial relations

6 July - 20 July: 10am - 4pm

The ability of the union to win on industrial relations issues that matter to members is dependent on our strength in the workplace. That strength is best gauged by how “organised” the union is locally.

Organising is not just about how many members we have; How many members are actively involved in the union? Are reps and advocates trained and confident in all relevant aspects of their industrial actions duties? Do we know which parts of our branch are strong or weak? Do we know which issues matter most for members? How do we get our union messages across, and consult members on collective negotiations? Are our union structures adequately reflecting the developing needs of the workforce we represent? How do we overcome objections and obstacles to getting organised?

Bullying - Cymru/Wales

6 July - 13 July: 9:30am - 4pm

PCS demands that our members have the right to be treated with dignity and respect in a working environment free from bullying, harassment or discrimination. This course helps you define bullying behaviours and outlines how PCS reps can help individual members who complain of bullying. It then looks at how branches can work to secure effective agreements and campaign for a working environment in which bullying is not tolerated.

Mental Health in the Workplace - North West, Midlands, Northern, Yorkshire and Humberside, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

8 July: 9:30am - 4pm

Stress, depression or anxiety are now the greatest cause of work absence in the UK. In January 2018 a ministerial response revealed in parliament that 26% of all sickness absence in the civil service was due to mental health conditions. Our training can give you the knowledge and confidence to help members to challenge where policies may be being breached or employers are unaware of employment rights, and to campaign for good mental health in the workplace.

Advocates 1 - North West

8 July: 12pm - 1pm

The key to a stronger PCS is greater participation by members in the day-to-day running of the union at the local level. If you are willing to help out a little come along to this session to talk about how you can play a role in your union as a workplace advocate.

PCS Strike School (South West)

8 July: 5pm - 7pm

Sessions will last a maximum of 2 hours and will cover planning; overcoming barriers; contacting members; organising tools and tactics.

Facilities time is not available for these sessions – we are discussing how to win an industrial action ballot.

Register with PCS Digital to book yourself on to an upcoming course

PCS courses and events are now being listed on PCS Digital. To be able to view and reserve spaces for upcoming events you'll need to log in to PCS Digital. If you have not yet registered for PCS Digital, please do so here.

Get in touch

Check out our events pagePCS Digital, or contact your local rep or regional office to find out what’s going on this week and in the coming weeks.

Let us know what your group or branch is planning so we can publicise it in our weekly round-up. Email web@pcs.org.uk

Stay informed by updating your details securely online by registering for PCS Digital