Donations to the PCS fighting fund must be increased for the current voluntary payment system to be sustainable.
Reps are urged to help boost sign-up rates, which have fallen short of the numbers needed to help support action like the current strikes at EHRC.
If the union’s 7,000 activists each contributed £2 a month it would generate £170,000 a year. If each activist asked just five members to do the same, it would generate £840,000 a year.
How you can help
PCS conference fully endorsed the principle of a fighting fund to back up those taking industrial action and help plan strategically for future targeted action. Delegates also called for a new strategy to increase donations.
Disputes like the rolling strike action at EHRC, and last year’s National Museum Wales strikes, rely heavily on strike pay from the fighting fund. The cash needed to shore up sustained action often runs in to six figures.
EHRC striker Eleanor Deeming told a conference fringe meeting members had been receiving 50% pay from the fund.
“We cannot overstate the importance of the solidarity and support shown to us. Without the fighting fund we would not have been able to continue, and escalate, this dispute. It’s absolutely vital,” she said.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said PCS was committed to supporting members on strike, and may have to consider seeking agreement for replacing the voluntary system with a levy. Just 50p a month would raise more than £1m a year.
What can you do?
Here’s a summary of the fighting fund reps’ guide.
- If you can, sign yourself up.
- Get a pledge from your BEC, BEC, NEC and regional committee members to also sign up.
- Ask each BEC member to sign up 5 people, including inviting all other activists.
- Share the webpage that allows members to easily donate/suscribe via Paypal, form or cheque – pcs.org.uk/campaigns/fighting-fund
- Promote it at meetings and events, and in newsletters and websites. Make it a standing item at BEC. Form a committee to plan a strategy.
- Make it clear to members what the fund is for, how it’s helping their colleagues, and why they might need it one day. Give real examples like the EHRC strike, National Museum Wales and MoJ Shared Services
- Hold a prize draw for members who sign up by a certain date. Send thankyou updates to supporters.
- Fundraise. Hold collections at members’ meetings, events like raffles, quiz nights or comedy and music evenings. Have branch members serving at music festivals for the Workers Beer Company