Getting ballot-ready on pay comes first

Branches getting ‘ballot ready’ for a potential industrial action vote over pay is the main focus for PCS in the coming weeks and months.

With many tasks to juggle, reps should be working closely with their branch’s Union Advocates at times like this, and recruiting more wherever possible.

A ballot is not certain but no effort will be wasted because, whatever the next steps in the pay campaign, all of your ‘ballot-ready’ activity is a significant part of the process we’re undertaking to build, strengthen and be in a position to win for our members.

Around 150 new PCS activists have been recruited in the last month – with members taking on positions for the first time – which is a positive sign of trust in the union and a willingness to be involved.

As part of a plan to both test the strength of workplaces and build confidence among members, we’re asking everyone to build towards the pay campaign’s ‘Big Petition’ day on Monday 30 April.

Big petitions – as well as sticker campaigns – raise confidence by publicly showing the volume of support for the campaign. They have been used effectively by PCS members in the Scottish Government sector, where the 1% pay cap is set to be broken this year.

In the run up to the petition day, HQ will be hosting live online video conference (webinars) – is one of the new innovative tactics we’re using to add to the effectiveness of the pay campaign.

As with the petition, this will help gauge the level of interest in the campaign and give members another way of getting involved. It also enables the union to reach out directly to members on the pay issue, without solely relying on activists for all communications.

When you receive notification of the webinars, please engage with them and encourage members in your branches to do the same.

PCS is also preparing a guide on how to get the vote out in an industrial action ballot, and to aim not just for the legally-required minimum of a 50% turnout, but for a ‘supermajority’ of 80% or more. Read more here.

Ballot-ready checklist:

  • Organising for Big Petition day, 30 April
  • Urging participation in webinars
  • Mapping local members and non-members
  • Ensuring membership data is up to date, including accuracy of member location
  • Making a branch plan to get the vote out in a potential ballot
  • Talking to members one-to-one
  • Recruiting new members and activists.

Next steps:
A meeting was held with Cabinet Office ministers before Easter, to discuss our national pay claim. They agreed to respond in writing, and we insisted that was done by 20 April.

The union’s NEC will meet on 24-26 April, to consider what progress has been made.

A national TUC demonstration will be held in London, on Saturday 12 May.

Further decisions will be made at PCS annual group and national conferences on 22-24 May.

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